The Queensland government is considering making it mandatory for childcare workers to report suspected abuse following the death of a Townsville boy.
The grandparents of a murdered Queensland toddler have accused the state government of resisting the introduction of laws that could prevent similar deaths.
Mason Parker was just 16 months old when he was murdered in 2011 by his mother’s partner in Townsville.
Childcare workers had taken photos of bruising on the boy’s body days before he died, but did not alert authorities.
Mason’s grandparents John and Sue Sandeman want the Queensland government to make it mandatory for childcare workers to report such suspected abuse.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised the Sandemans a meeting with Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley, and the issue has been made a priority for national collaboration.
In a letter to the Sandemans, Mr Abbott said he would also personally raise the issue with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
However, Mr Sandeman said the state government had resisted their campaign for years, arguing it would overburden the system.
“We’ll just keep on going and going and going until someone in power in Queensland listens to us,” Mr Sandeman told ABC radio.
Mason attended two daycare centres before he died, and the abuse went unreported.
“It was so severe you wouldn’t question it,” Ms Sandeman told ABC radio.
“In this case, two daycare centres didn’t make the right decision.
“Hopefully, Mr Abbott can urge the Queensland government to look at it as being a priority.”
Mr Newman said the recent Carmody review into child protection did not make a recommendation on the issue, but “that doesn’t mean it won’t be part of any changes that we now make”.
“We are currently looking at that bit of legislation and we are very much going to take this on board,” he said.
Troy William Reed is serving at least 15 years in jail for Mason’s murder.
During his trial, the Cairns Supreme Court heard how the toddler suffered a skull fracture, more than 50 bruises, internal injuries and a ruptured bowel.
Reed had told detectives Mason had injured himself during several accidents in the days before his death, including falling from a bed.