The grandparents of a murdered toddler are demanding the state opposition implement its plan to overhaul child protection within 10 days if elected this year.
The grandparents of a murdered toddler are demanding the state opposition implement its plan to overhaul child protection within 10 days if elected this year.

Murdered baby's family pushes MPs on child protection

The grandparents of a murdered toddler are demanding the state opposition implement its plan to overhaul child protection within 10 days if they are elected this year.

Their grandson, Mason Parker, was only 17 months old when he was murdered by his mother's partner.

John and Sue Sandeman said the LNP's proposed reform of the child safety department did not go far enough and they needed to introduce punitive laws to deter future cases of abuse.

"If they get elected, the reform should be introduced within 10 days, no more excuses," Mr Sandeman said.

"No matter what side is in government, the buck stops with the minister and the premier.

"It should be black and white, there are too many grey areas. To stop children being abused you need to lock them up, 10 years' jail, no parole."

The LNP wants to enforce compulsory drug tests for illicit substances for parents as part of the intervention.

Sue and John Sandeman. Picture: Shae Beplate
Sue and John Sandeman. Picture: Shae Beplate

Parents who fail a second drug test will have their children placed into care while they undergo mandatory rehabilitation. "We've got to make sure we take a strong stance with this and, quite frankly, some families will forfeit the right to have their children in care," Child Safety and Youth opposition spokesman Stephen Bennett said in Townsville on Friday.

"I understand reunification is sometimes a preferred model but we need to make sure our kids are safe."

Mrs Sandeman said parents who failed one drug test should have their children removed.

"Straight away, if a person is on drugs they're either on a high or on a big low, that changes their ability to look after a child," she said.

Mr Bennett said there was no need to hire more people for the department, which would become the stand-alone Child Protection Force, operating 24/7.

Child Safety and Youth opposition spokesman Stephen Bennett, MP. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Child Safety and Youth opposition spokesman Stephen Bennett, MP. Picture: Shae Beplate.

"A total of $1.6 billion has been invested over the last five years in child ­safety and it's getting worse … with the re-engineering you're creating opportunities to make sure frontline staff are doing what they should be doing and that's protecting the kids."

Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the Opposition hadn't been able to provide detail on their proposals.

"We need to see what their plan is to put into place, we're more than happy to work with them because we know every child matters in our society," he said.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

Originally published as Sandemans call on opposition to deliver



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