Read the letter here
Ann Summers interview here
JULIA Gillard revealed on Monday night why she devoted some of her last minutes as prime minister to writing a letter to Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy.
Ms McCarthy’s work in chronicling sexual abuse of the Catholic Church as part of the Herald’s Shine The Light campaign has been credited with leading to a state inquiry and a federal royal commission.
Ms Gillard said Ms McCarthy’s efforts in uncovering clergy abuse within the Maitland-Newcastle diocese was on her mind before she announced the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
‘‘Everything that was happening in Newcastle was at the forefront of my thinking as we decided to move to the stage of having a national royal commission,’’ Ms Gillard said.
‘‘So she’d been a real impetus for what I think will be a very profound change about how our nation thinks about keeping our children safe.
‘‘She’d sent me correspondence and I’d wanted to answer it, wanted to answer it, and knew that if this wasn’t the moment I answered it then the moment was going to go by.’’
Ms Gillard indicated the royal commission was among her three top achievements while prime minister.
‘‘If there had been one thing I could have done in that moment which would have sealed everything about school funding, I would have done it too,’’ she said.
‘‘Or if there had been one thing that meant the national disability insurance scheme was instantaneously rolled out, I would have done it, but those things weren’t open to me.
‘‘But it was open to me to make sure I wrote back, so I did.’’