I was informed by the Royal Commission today that I will not be required to appear as a witness in the up-coming Salvation Army Case Study 10 hearings.
I’m quite okay with that for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that the Commission’s decision that they don’t need me to appear as a witness indicates to me that the story I have to tell of how my father and my family were treated by the Salvation Army is perhaps nothing particularly new to the Commission. It may even indicate that as badly as we were treated, others were treated even worse and rightfully have priority; if this is the case, it’s more important that these people’s stories be told to the public.
The second is that I have been granted “leave to appear”, even though I don’t actually appear. What this means is that the statement that I wrote for the Commission will be on the public record, so our family’s story (or part of it, anyway) still gets to be told. It’s my understanding that this statement will be available publicly at some point in the future, although perhaps not for a long time – I’m not sure. I’m a little disappointed about the quality of what I wrote, as I was very emotional when I wrote it and it’s a bit incoherent in places. It’s also not as comprehensive an account as I would like to have made, but I was focussing on matters the Commission seemed to be most interested in hearing about when I wrote it. But that doesn’t really matter, as I can write further about such matters whenever I like.
This leads into the third reason that I’m okay with not appearing as a witness. And that is that by being granted “leave to appear”, I get the right to make a formal, written submission to the Commission at the end of the Case Study 10 hearings. This I can write better, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to make a written submission. I’ve decided to leave off on finishing the “deconstruction” of the Salvation Army response to the first lot of Salvation Army hearings I keep talking about until the conclusion of the Case Study 10 hearings. It will be better informed by what I learn from these hearings.
Finally, it’s all cool because I am still going to be heading down to Sydney to attend the hearings (or part of them, anyway) and to also hopefully join others who might be protesting against the Salvation Army on the steps of the Commission building throughout the hearings. I hope there will be many such people!
Thanks to all of you who’ve offered support. I am very much looking forward to meeting more people and perhaps catching up again with a few of the lovely people who came up to Brisbane for the public memorial.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION: HELP OBTAIN JUSTICE FOR LEWIS BLAYSE FROM THE SALVATION ARMY.
[Addendum: Just tonight (a day after making the above post), I’ve been told that actually I now DON’T have leave to appear, despite what I was told by phone last night, which means I don’t get to make a submission at the end of the hearings. I have been told, however, that my statement will go up on the Commission website. Apparently there are circumstances that may eventuate that may lead the Chair of the Commission to change his mind about the decision that I don’t have leave to appear].