‘No transparency’ around toddler death
The Queensland opposition has demanded accountability for public servants implicated in the tragic 2016 death of toddler Mason Jet Lee, who was known to child services before he died of brutal injuries inflicted by his stepfather.
Opposition spokeswoman for child protection Amanda Camm asked if there was "a generation of children that are disposable" as she slammed the government and called for more transparency on 2GB radio on Tuesday.
She said staff tasked with protecting children must understand their role and responsibilities.
"If they don't, there should be serious consequences," she said.
A scathing coronial inquest last year determined the Department of Child Safety failed to protect the 22-month-old "in nearly every possible way" before he died.
The Public Service Commission launched a review into whether the officers involved in the case should face consequences.
But the Courier Mail reported on Tuesday that, despite the review itself having finished, the process is still ongoing with no potential punishment for the public servants finalised yet.
The department also refused to say if the review had been conducted by external consultants, the Courier Mail reported.
The inquest found Mason would have been in severe pain when he died in June 2016 after his stepfather, William O'Sullivan, punched him so hard in the stomach it ruptured his intestine.
An autopsy revealed he was suffering bruises and other severe injuries at the time of his death.
O'Sullivan and Mason's mother, Anne-Maree Lee, were sentenced to prison on manslaughter and child cruelty charges.
Of the 21 public servants involved, three resigned, but Ms Camm said the lack of transparency meant the fate of the other 18 remained unknown.
Ms Camm said she had become aware two had since been promoted.
She said the public had a right to know how public servants would be held accountable for Mason's death.
"There are other parts of the public service we see where, police officers for instance, may break the rules, and they are stood down on leave, investigations are undertaken and disciplinary action is taken," she said.
"That's normally very transparent, reported in the media, and we know what the accountability is there.
"That's not the case here and we're dealing with the most vulnerable people in our society … Children who are exposed to things that you or I have probably never had to experience in our lives.
"There needs to be transparency, there needs to be action taken, and more importantly there needs to be accountability."
She said reading the inquest findings had made her feel "sick to the stomach".
"You can see it at every point where intervention by the state (could have saved) Mason Jet Lee's life," she said.
In the wake of the inquest, a new Child Death Review Model was introduced, replacing what Ms Camm described as a "haphazard approach".
"Real cultural change needs to occur in that department," she said.
"If children are continuing to die who are known to the government department whose task it is to protect children, then there needs to be significant cultural reform and the buck stops with the Minister and the Premier."
The Public Service Commission has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as 'No transparency' around toddler death