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Commission of Inquiry Must Investigate LGH and Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Tags: Child Abuse, Child Safety, Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Health, Launceston General Hospital, Commission of Inquiry

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The allegations that many children were sexually abused by a nurse who worked at the Launceston General Hospital for 18 years have shaken many Tasmanians. 

Today in Parliament, we asked the Minister responsible for Child Safety, Roger Jaensch, about concerns the same person was also employed as a nurse at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre for five months in 2017, and on the Spirit of Tasmania. 

Minister Jaensch failed to recognise the concerns raised by the Greens, and echoed in the community, about the government investigation’s limited Terms of Reference. As they stand, those Terms of Reference would not be able to effectively scrutinise allegations of any improper actions at Ashley.

The government should establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate institutional failings that enabled an abuser to remain in positions of trust for nearly two decades. A Commission would be afforded greater powers to examine the distressing allegations than the government’s investigation. 
The government’s investigation into these devastating allegations is too restrictive in its focus on systems within the Tasmanian Health Service, and would not address cultural issues or individual actions or cases. A Commission of Inquiry would enable this matter to be properly, and openly, investigated with protections for witnesses and the power to collect evidence.

The Liberals must do right by the children who are, and have been, in government care. We urge them to put the community at ease, and establish a Commission of Inquiry with the authority to conduct a powerful, fearless and just investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse, not constrained to the LGH.