Mason’s loving grandparents made all children safer
ON July 1, 2017, changes to the law relating to the protection of children in Queensland came into force. They relate to the mandatory requirement for child care workers to report suspected cases of child abuse to the Department of Child Safety. This was not previously the case. This change is due to the efforts of John and Sue Sandeman.
I first met John and Sue Sandeman in 2013. They live at Black River and are the grandparents of Mason Parker. Mason was 17 months old when he was brutally murdered in 2011. It emerged afterwards that child care workers had noticed injuries on Mason’s body prior to his death, but that this were not reported to the department.
These child care workers had not broken the law. However, John and Sue started asking questions why, when other mandatory reporting laws were in place for similar professions. One of the people they questioned was me, as their local MP and that led to a series of events, which resulted in this change.
John and Sue collected a petition supported by more than 1200 Queens- landers, which I tabled in the Queensland Parliament in February 2014. We worked with several ministers in the previous LNP Government to progress the issue through a review by the Law Reform Commission. Hard questions were asked and answered.
After this lengthy and detailed process, the LNP introduced a private members bill into the Queensland Parliament to provide for mandatory reporting of suspected cases of child abuse by child care workers, which passed in September 2016. After a peri- od of preparation by industry and government, this law came into force on July 1, 2017.
I’m pleased to have helped John and Sue navigate their way through this difficult process, but their journey has been a long and harrowing one after tragically losing their grandson Mason to a savage and brutal crime. John and Sue Sandeman should be proud their determination has changed things for the better for kids in Queensland.
ANDREW CRIPPS, Member for Hinchinbrook.