MEDIA RELEASE – IMMEDIATE

Making the Public Service accountable for the failings reported in the Commission of Inquiry Report into the Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Tasmanian Institutions

Bass Independent Lara Alexander is pleased to support calls from LOUDfence Tasmania for all Bass State election candidates to declare whether they support public servants being held accountable for catastrophic failures of governance, which saw hundreds of children exposed to child sex offenders in institutions including hospitals, schools, foster homes and youth detention centres.

Mrs Alexander said she was honoured to be the first candidate in Bass to declare her support for the initiative from LOUDfence.

She said that it was “astonishing” that six months after the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Child Sexual Abuse tabled its final report, not one public servant has been held accountable. 

“Premier Rockliff keeps repeating his mantra that his Government would implement all 191 recommendations of the COI, while making it clear that he has no intention of publicly holding public servants to account for the systematic failures that took place under their watch,” she said.

“The Rockliff Government has already used all manner of legal tricks to protect those individuals that the COI Commissioners wanted scrutinised for failing the children to which they owed a duty of care.

“I very much fear that a returned Liberal Government would continue this apparent policy of letting bygones be bygones and just hoping the public will forget the whole thing.

“Victim-survivors are entitled to justice and all public servants need to know that ignoring or covering-up child sexual abuse will be career-ending.”

Mrs Alexander said that, if re-elected, she would look to join with supportive MPs, including those in the minor parties and fellow independents on the crossbench, to press the incoming Government to make public the names of public servants the COI wanted to be held accountable, and explain why they should not lose their jobs under Public Service misconduct (ED5) provisions.

LOUDfence Tasmania Coordinator, Lawrie Donaldson, said that voters had a right to know what each candidate’s public position on the issue was before going to the ballot box.

“Voters need to know what they can expect from MPs, who will have to set about the challenging task of changing the culture in our institutions that has allowed paedophiles and other child sex offenders to abuse children, seemingly with impunity, over generations,” he said.

“The COI recommendations and the new legislation while important, will ultimately fall short if public servants continue to know that they will be ‘let off the hook’ for cover-ups, no matter what.

Mr. Donaldson congratulated and thanked Mrs Alexander for what he called her “local leadership” on the issue and said he encouraged all Bass candidates to publicly join with her in a shared resolve to stop child sexual abuse in Tasmanian institutions once and for all.

“There should be no place for politics when it comes to keeping our children safe and we need to be sure that institutional leaders will prioritise the safety of children over political, reputational, professional or personal interests,” he said.

Mr Donaldson said the Rockliff Government’s response to the harrowing litany of sexual abuse at the LGH, local schools, foster homes and the Ashley Youth Detention Centre over many years simply didn’t pass the ‘Launceston pub test’.

“We need a Government that will do what is necessary to make public servants accountable for gross negligence and misconduct. Sadly, so far I don’t believe we have had that so we need to look to the next Parliament to get this right,” he said.

I’d like electors to Vote 1 for decency in Bass and join with Lara Alexander in the fight to make our kids safe and to hold accountable those who would do them harm.

Wednesday February 21st, 2024

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