You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Furore after child abuse bill stalls in WA

AAP logoAAP 14/10/2016 Greg Roberts

Child sex abuse victims say they are "gutted and disgusted" after an abusive slanging match between MPs stalled a debate on whether to remove a six-year limit for survivors to take legal action.

The clashes culminated in ex-Liberal and now independent MP Rob Johnson calling Premier Colin Barnett a "disgraceful turd" and being thrown out and suspended after the premier refused to speak in support of it.

The six-year statute of limitations on taking civil action for compensation has been criticised, given victims might not talk about their abuse for longer than six years or the negative psychological effects can take a long time to manifest.

That statute has already been removed in Victoria and NSW.

The clashes in the WA parliament came as House Leader John Day adjourned debate on the bill, introduced nearly a year ago, without committing to reintroducing it next week, angering abuse victims.

Liberal MP Graham Jacobs, who drafted the bill, accused WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin of being unduly concerned about the state being flooded with compensation claims.

Perth woman Kirsty Pratt, who was abused by a teacher in primary school, said it was very disappointing to attend parliament with other victims and have her hopes "dashed again".

A mother of two daughters who were abuse victims, "Gillian", was angry, saying she was disgusted with Liberal ministers for playing with victim's lives and accusing Mr Mischin of breaking a promise to change the law.

"These childrens' whole lives - education, emotionally, physically - stopped when they were very young ... stopping them going forward in life and enact the potential they have," she told ABC radio.

"Our family lives daily with the prospect of a daughter who has post traumatic stress, OCD, both have problems to overcome every day."

Mr Jacobs said while he could understand concerns about a potential flood of retrospective claims, those worries had not stopped compensation being awarded to asbestos victims.

"You need to do the right thing, recognise the damage and recompense it appropriately," he said.

Mr Jacobs said he expected the second reading of the bill would resume next week and had a strongly worded warning for Mr Mischin and Mr Barnett.

"Don't play me for a fool, because I would say that they're going to run the clock down and we've only got three weeks of parliament left," he said.

Mr Barnett said he supported what Mr Jacobs was trying to achieve and had apologised to the abuse victims in parliament for a poor performance by MPs that he blamed on Labor shadow attorney-general John Quigley and Mr Johnson.

"There are some complex legal issues .. the bill would seem to be addressing children who were in government institutions, what about those who are in institutions run by churches, the Salvation Army, where where do they stand?" he told reporters.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon