Mark Dreyfus
Mark Dreyfus

Dreyfus defends Fitzgerald's role in child abuse commission

FEDERAL Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has defended the appointment of Robert Fitzgerald as one of the commissioners investigating child sexual abuse.

Victim support groups have led a chorus of people calling for Mr Fitzgerald, a former Deputy Ombudsman of NSW and Commissioner for Disability, to resign because of his strong links to the Catholic Church.

But Mr Dreyfus rejected calls to remove Mr Fitzgerald, one of six commissioners conducting the inquiry, making the point he was chosen following a "rigorous selection process".

"I think we have to look at who Mr Fitzgerald is; we have to say that he accepted this role in good faith and in the knowledge that it will be a long, deep and difficult investigation into responses by institutions, including the Catholic Church.

"In accepting this role he, along with his fellow five commissioners, has made a full commitment to uncovering the facts and the truth with the aim of stamping out abuse."

Meanwhile, the Federal Government announced over the weekend it was putting up $44 million for counselling and support services for people participating in the royal commission, which is expected to start conducting public hearings later in the year.