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Australian PM Slams Reprehensible Redress Holdouts

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is “not kidding” when he says institutions refusing to join the national child abuse redress scheme will lose public funding.

Morrison and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston have threatened to cut off future funding and possibly tax concessions if organisations fail to sign up by June 30.

“Anne Ruston and I are not kidding. We expect people to sign up and if you dont want to sign up then I wont be signing any cheques,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on June 29.

Morrison and Senator Ruston on Friday wrote to 25 institutions, urging them to do the right thing and join the scheme.

“All institutions are doing in not joining is doubling down on the crime and doubling down on the hurt,” they said.

“We consider it to be reprehensible that you have failed to sign up to the scheme.”

The financial sanctions being considered include stopping future public funding and suspending organisations charitable status and tax concessions.

“Be aware, failure to sign up to this program means I will ensure that there will be no further public funding that theyll be eligible for going forward,” Morrison said.

“Im certainly prepared to do that and even prepared to consider their charitable status.”

The Victorian government has also threatened to cut off state funding for organisations that dont join the scheme.

“Times up,” Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy tweeted on Monday.

“Weve already said no funding for institutions which do not sign up, and well explore every sanction available for those evading their responsibility to survivors.”

The non-participating institutions will be named and shamed on Wednesday, when Senator Ruston announces what action the federal government will take against them.

The Jehovahs Witnesses is among the organisations that have refused to sign up, arguing it does not have the institutional settings of other faith-based institutions that the redress scheme is designed to cover.

The 25 institutions that received the letter were either named in redress applications or the child abuse royal commission, and were holding up compensation for 103 survivors.

Survivor support group Blue Knot Foundation president Cathy Kezelman said not joining the scheme was indefensible.

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