SA fails to back national redress scheme and Brisbane Grammar in Royal Commission’s sights

South Australia is the nation’s meanest state, spending only about $1.2 million on compensation payments to people who have been abused in state care. This is a far cry from the responses of other states, which have spent up to $120 million compensating abuse victims.

Courtroom in session for redress scheme hearing Source:

South Australia has also refused to financially back a national redress scheme. The $4 billion scheme has been proposed by the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse as a way to provide equal justice to all child abuse survivors. Both Victoria and NSW have pledged support for the scheme.

Earlier this month, royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan told a conference that state compensation schemes had failed the “test of reasonable fairness”.

Approximate redress scheme payments made under state schemes:

  • Victoria: $1.2 million
  • Tasmania: $55 million
  • Queensland: $96 million
  • Western Australia: $120 million

The royal commission public hearings continued this month, with Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in Bald Hill, Queensland, under investigation.
The commission was told that former school counsellor, Kevin Lynch, drugged and raped dozens of boys who came to him for support and guidance.



Lynch, a counsellor at Brisbane Grammar and St Paul’s School in the 1980s and 1990s, used mouth sprays and hypodermic syringes to drug the boys before raping them. These sessions, which were supposedly for counselling, lasted up to five hours.

Students who complained about Lynch to the school’s headmaster were called “liars”. Lynch took is his own life in 1997 after being charged by police.
Another former St Paul’s teacher Gregory Knight, who had been convicted of a child sex offence, accused ex-students of making up stories about him. A lawyer for one of the victims called the teacher “a disgrace”. “It cannot be denied that you are a paedophile,” the lawyer told Knight, who gave evidence via video link.

About Peter Kelso

I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.

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