Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 5008 ..
This is a refreshing change from some of the more self-congratulatory efforts of government backbenchers and it is a very timely reminder of a matter which most of us rarely think about but which nonetheless is important and does cause harm to a few people.
MS ORR (Yerrabi) (5.19): I thank Ms Cody for moving this motion and giving us the opportunity to consider the place names in our own electorates. I draw the attention of the Assembly to one particular place name in my electorate of Yerrabi: William Slim Drive. William Slim Drive is named after Viscount William Joseph Slim, British military commander and the 13th Governor-General of Australia. William Slim was born in 1891 and passed away in 1960. He served in both the first and second world wars, and from 1953 to 1959 he served as the 13th Governor-General of Australia.
His service and the accolades he collected throughout his life led him to be revered as a man of great accomplishment and honour. Since his passing, William Slim has received the honour of many place names. This includes a university campus building, a secondary school and two different roads, including our own William Slim Drive. Upon hearing about Ms Cody’s push to review Canberra’s place names, William Slim is one name that immediately came to mind.
In 2009 several allegations of child sexual abuse against William Slim were made public on the ABC television program, The Long Journey Home. The allegations that were aired were inexcusable and unfortunately numerous. It was alleged that during his time as Governor-General and his visits to Fairbridge Farm, William Slim sexually assaulted and otherwise interfered with a number of migrant children.
Fairbridge Farm was set up to arrange the emigration of children from the UK to Australia. It was a place where these children were meant to be cared for and educated. Instead, it is alleged that Fairbridge Farm became a place where young child migrants were abused and assaulted.
The accounts of abuse from Fairbridge Farm are so numerous that one survivor told an inquiry into child sexual abuse that up to 60 per cent of the child migrants sent there were sexually assaulted. It is alleged that along with many others, William Slim played a part in perpetrating these assaults. At the time, reports of misconduct against Fairbridge Farm were ignored by both Australian and British governments, and allegations against William Slim himself were dismissed by those who had served with him in the army as well as by his son. It was not until the 2009 ABC program that William Slim’s victims started to see justice in the form of a $24 million payout.
Throughout the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse many of those who had experienced William Slim’s horrific behaviour and the behaviour of others on that farm spoke out. Just this year two survivors shared their story in the Canberra Times in hopes of having the name of William Slim Drive changed.
William Slim Drive is one of the major roads in my electorate. Every day an estimated 20,000 vehicles use this road to move throughout our city. For those who