12yo sex girl was ward of the state: Bartlett

12yo sex girl was ward of the state: Bartlett

NVESTMENT HIT: Page 3 PREMIER David Bartlett yesterday confirmed that the 12-year-old girl at the heart of a prostitution scandal was in state care at the time she was abused.

Mr Bartlett admitted that the care of the child had not been good enough.

But he told Parliament that the Government would only contemplate the need for an external investigation after considering an internal Department of Health and Human Services report, which he said had indicated a number of systemic case management issues.

"I certainly don't rule (an external review) out," Mr Bartlett said.

But Tasmania's Children's Commissioner Paul Mason last night demanded immediate action.

"It should be obvious that an external review is needed," Mr Mason said.

"So the people of Tasmania know that it's not biased and to give the Government comfort that fearless and frank analysis has been undertaken."

Mr Mason said that he understood that the internal investigation was only into the girl's current family situation and not of how the situation arose.

Hobart man Gary Devine is serving a 10-year sentence for pimping the child out to more than 100 men in a five-week period last year.

The girl's mother has also been charged and has pleaded not guilty, with her case ongoing.

Mr Mason said that an external review must look at the precise history of the matter, how the situation arose, whether there was a risk that it could happen to anyone else in state care and if there was anything that could be done to ensure the incident was not repeated.

The Tasmanian Liberals are also pushing for an independent inquiry into the matter.

"The Liberals and all Tasmanians want to be assured this matter is not swept under the carpet by this Government and that other children will not be, or are not currently being, exploited in this manner," Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said.