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Confronting child abuse 'too hard' for Benson-Pope

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

21 February 2006

Confronting child abuse 'too hard' for Benson-Pope

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says David Benson-Pope's ability to act as an effective advocate for vulnerable children has been severely compromised.

"In Parliament today, Mr Benson-Pope has suggested that he will have no difficulty delivering speeches on the issues of child abuse and bullying in his role as Social Development Minister.

"This is a fascinating development and I look forward to seeing how he reconciles the historic allegations made against him with his current role as a defender and protector of disadvantaged children.

"The fact that Helen Clark is prepared to tolerate this contradiction defies belief.

"David Benson-Pope has said very little about the issues of child abuse outside of Parliament since police concluded there was a prima facie case against him in relation to historic assault allegations involving students.

"And I note with interest his late withdrawal from the speaking list at last week's 10th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. One would have thought the Minister of Social Development would clear the decks to speak at a conference co-hosted by his own department.

"Despite the excuses, it's hard not to be suspicious about the real reasons for his withdrawal from that conference," says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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