Government inaction on child abuse allegations unexplained and unacceptable

Tasmanian Labor
  • Ministers withheld horrific information preventing wider investigation
  • Unacceptable lack of urgency on allegations cannot be explained
  • Commission of Inquiry must examine government’s lack of response
  • Senior Gutwein Government Ministers can still not explain why they failed to launch a government-wide investigation into horrific child sex abuse allegations and withheld information for more than a year.

    Labor Leader Rebecca White said both Health Minister Sarah Courtney and Police Minister Mark Shelton failed to act on the allegations involving former Launceston General Hospital nurse James Griffin when they were provided information in July and August 2019 respectively and Premier Peter Gutwein similarly did nothing when he learned of the claims late last year.

    “Ms Courtney still cannot provide a legitimate answer as to why she failed to launch an independent investigation until just weeks ago,” Ms White said.

    “Mr Shelton cannot explain why he withheld the information for more than a year and failed to share it with other government agencies where we now know Griffin worked, potentially giving him access to children.

    “The Premier cannot explain why investigations were not widened across government when he came into possession of the information via the former Premier’s office late last year.

    “Clearly – when the initial allegations were raised about Griffin at the LGH in 2019 – this was a matter that potentially reached beyond the hospital considering Mr Griffin’s involvement with other government agencies and other organisations.

    “There has been an appalling failure in the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of children in its care.

    “Alarm bells should have been ringing loudly when Griffin’s Working With Vulnerable Persons accreditation was revoked In July 2019 but for reasons they refuse to explain, the Premier and his Ministers chose to do nothing to shine a spotlight across government.

    “The government cannot hide behind a police investigation when that investigation ended with Griffin’s death more than a year ago. The rampant secrecy needs to end. The planned Commission of Inquiry has not yet been established and there are serious, far-reaching questions that need to be addressed urgently and truthfully today.”

    Rebecca White MP

    Labor Leader

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