· LNP Opposition calls for State Government to commit to coronial inquest into Mason Lee’s death
· Inquest is the only independent, public and transparent way of determining how systems failed little Mason
· Coroner can make lasting recommendations on how to ensure systems better protect Queensland children
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates have called for the Palaszczuk Government to commit to a coronial inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Caboolture toddler Mason Jet Lee.
Mr Nicholls said a coronial inquest would identify how the systems designed to protect Mason failed him, and make recommendations on how those systems can be improved to protect Queensland children.
“As more details come to light about the tragic last weeks and months of Mason’s life, we believe a coronial inquest is justified to identify in a public and transparent process the failings in our child safety system,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We have every respect for the court process underway to test the guilt or innocence of the three adults who have been charged.
“We believe, however, that an independent coronial inquest, held after the court case has been completed, is the best way to examine the systemic failures that may have played a role in little Mason falling through the cracks in the most tragic of ways.
“A coronial inquest would not be about establishing guilt or innocence of the adults involved, it’s about making recommendations in a public and transparent manner – recommendations that will help to ensure that other children do not suffer in the way Mason did.
“A recent Galaxy survey found 80 per cent of Queenslanders believed the child protection system was under pressure or in crisis – an independent coronial inquiry would help restore public confidence in our child protection system.
“We call on Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath to request a coronial inquiry, and it will then be up the Coroner to decide the best way forward.”
Ms Bates said Annastacia Palaszczuk and Shannon Fentiman’s internal reviews were one thing, but they lacked the openness and transparency of a coronial inquest.
“The Palaszczuk Government failed Mason, and while an inquest will not undo the government’s failing, it could prevent more vulnerable Queensland children from the suffering Mason endured,” she said.
“If the Government had acted sooner and actually seen Mason in the 48 hours leading up to his death, he may still be alive today.
“We believe a coronial inquest can have a lasting and positive impact on the system that is designed to protect our children.”