Child Protection Minister Jacquie Petrusma has laid the blame for the 2012 death of baby Bjay Johnstone at the feet of Labor.
On the first day of the Tasmanian Parliament’s spring session, the government responded to Coroner Olivia McTaggart’s June findings regarding the death, which she believed was caused by Bjay’s father.
But Coroner McTaggart also felt that Tasmania Police and the Child Safety Service could have done more to prevent Bjay’s death.
Bjay was only 45-days-old when he died, sustaining a severe brain injury and a fractured skull.
The abuse of the baby was said to have commenced shortly after he was born.
The government has acted on most of the coroner’s recommendations, while the remaining ones are either in train or are being considered.
These recommendations included: the implementation of a comprehensive training regime for child protection workers; the establishment of child protection liaison officer positions in the North and North-West; and that Tasmania Police determine whether it is necessary to provide training and education relating to reports of child abuse or neglect.
Ms Petrusma said Labor MPs should “hang their heads in shame that this tragedy occurred on their watch”.
“It is time Labor embraced the redesign of child protection instead of playing politics with children’s lives just like they did in government,” she said.
Labor children spokesman Josh Willie said the coroner’s findings should be used to strengthen the state’s child protection system.
“Bjay’s death was a tragedy and highlighted serious deficiencies in the system for which the government at the time was ultimately responsible for,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has accused Labor of politicising the issue of child protection, most recently in regard to the announcement that Children’s Commissioner Mark Morrissey intended to resign from the role in September.
Mr Willie has deemed the timing of the resignation “suspicious”.