GIVE CHILDREN A VOICE: Independent Senate candidate Hetty Johnston was in Rockhampton today, on day four of her tour of the state's rural and regional communities.
GIVE CHILDREN A VOICE: Independent Senate candidate Hetty Johnston was in Rockhampton today, on day four of her tour of the state's rural and regional communities. Aden Stokes

Senate candidate pushes for inquiry into family law failures

INDEPENDENT Senate candidate Hetty Johnston believes the Child Protection Reform is not doing enough to help keep children safe in Queensland.

The Bravehearts founder was visiting Rockhampton today on day four of her tour of the state's rural and regional communities.

Ms Johnston said children were being sexually assaulted and abused in numbers never seen before.

"We don't have enough support services and all the regions are complaining they don't have enough police," she said.

"A large percentage of prisoners were sexually assaulted as kids. We have kids being harmed and we are teaching them to tell people and no one is responding. Many of them become angry because they feel people don't care about them.

"They have this chip on their shoulder and misbehave, and it snowballs until eventually they are committing crimes that are horrendous. The court is then sending them to live or spend time with the very people they are alleging have harmed them.

"We can't blame them, we have to blame ourselves because we did not step up and help those kids.

"When they cried out for help, we turned the other cheek.

"That is what our government is doing and that is what has inspired me to run."

She said there needs to be a royal commission into the family law system, which she says is contributing to the murders of mothers and driving children and separated fathers to commit suicide.

"It is the only instrument capable of overcoming all the constitutional issues and jurisdictional issues, into the court itself," she said.

"We need to pull this rot out. There is some awful stuff going on in there. Any institution that is covered with a lack of transparency and accountability and then full of vulnerable kids you have a problem - and we have that problem.

"We need a royal commission into the family law system, we need Child Advocacy Systems and we need a National Integrity Commission."

If voted in, Ms Johnston said "the dust won't settle for six years".

"They will know I am there. Every day of the week I will be thumping that table, making sure we get that royal commission, then making sure the terms of reference are correct and then making sure the recommendations are properly implemented," she said.