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PM'S APOLOGY: 'I'm sorry what that teacher did to you'

Robbie Gambley wants to raise public awareness around the ongoing effects of child abuse on individuals. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Robbie Gambley wants to raise public awareness around the ongoing effects of child abuse on individuals. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

"ROBBIE, I am so sorry what that school teacher did to you".

Child abuse survivor Robbie Gambley was at home in Casino at 3.30pm on Thursday afternoon when he received those "magic words" of apology from Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

The phone call from Parliament House marked a major milestone in the Casino man's decade long campaign for justice for child abuse survivors like himself.

Mr Gambley was abused by a school teacher, who was convicted for his crimes in 2007, at Bonalbo High School during the 1970s.

While he was honoured by Mr Turnbull's heartfelt apology, Mr Gambley said his idea for a sorry ceremony was "not appropriate".

"It's not for MPs to sit in (the House of Representatives) and apologise, its for the perpetrators and the institutions that did this insidious damage," Mr Gambley said.

"They are the ones who have to apologise."

During the phone call, Mr Gambley canvassed his vision for an alternative healing ceremony to Mr Turnbull.

He proposed the ceremony would include a minute's silence "for those people who didn't survive the horror".

"They should be with us now but they are not," Mr Gambley said.

To conclude the momentous occasion, he envisaged all in attendance "having a cuppa in the great hall" in reflection of the historic event.

"I've lived with deep shame for 24 years. People have lived with shame for so long," he said.

"We need people to reach out and say 'you are a good person and you are loved' that would be a very significant words to hear."

He said the next step was advocating the states and territories as well as churches and other non-government institutions to promptly sign up to the Federal Government's national redress scheme.

The scheme would pay up to $150,000 to eligible survivors as well as provide access to counselling and psychological services.

Mr Gambley said the NSW government's reluctance to the scheme was "slap in the face and such an insult".

He questioned the delay and referred to Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcement in June last year of a state budget surplus of $4.5 billion.

"If the state is in such a strong financial decision, why can't they do this?," he said.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to compensate people who suffered this abuse."

"I would just like the state of NSW to say 'we will help you'.

"It's the moral and right thing to do, it's the noble action to take."

Topics:  child sex abuse editors picks northern rivers community northern rivers politics prime minister malcolm turnbull robbie gambley



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