My colleague, Sarah, and I were talking this morning about the apology that Australia’s prime minister made today to the 500 000 of Australians who as children were placed in state care and were abused while living there. The prime minister, in writing his speech, asked one of the men who had survived the abuse to write of the impact of his experience. ‘You can’t write tears on paper,’ was his reply.

Yesterday I went to the service of remembrance for victims of road trauma, which is organised by my colleague Andy. It was at Parliament House here in Melbourne – a beautiful and heart wrenching expression of grief and brokenness… and then this morning i had a conversation about services for advent and christmas in Port Phillip prison. The world seems filled with sad and raw people today; people too aware of fragility and mortality. Of course, we’re always aware of that on some level, but we have to live in some kind of denial most of the time because its immensity paralyses us…

a welcome for a remembrance service


if you have come here in search of understanding
and solace
you are welcome

if you are desolate with grief
perhaps guilt
you are welcome

whether you feel abandoned
you are welcome

whether you have seen a glimmer of peace
or you know only of its absence
you are welcome

if you don’t know how to survive
or if you are here as proof that life continues
you are welcome

if you have come here out of duty
or because there is nowhere else to go
you are welcome.

We cannot promise much today.

we can’t promise that you will leave feeling better
or that we will make life easier

we would like to promise peace or hope
but you know those things are hard fought
and seldom won

we can say only that you are welcome

even – and especially – the most fragile parts of you
too raw to let the world
and yourself

you are welcome.