John Sandeman with his grandson Mason Parker, who was killed by his mother's de facto partner. Photo: Supplied
The grandparents of a murdered Queensland toddler hope a long-awaited meeting with a federal assistant minister will be the catalyst for mandatory reporting of abuse in kindergartens to become law.
Staff at a Townsville kindergarten had taken photos of bruises 16-month-old Mason Parker suffered eight days before his death in 2011.
However the pictures were never sent to authorities and John and Sue Sandeman believe this would have saved his life.
Mason Parker's grandparents are fighting for changes to mandatory reporting laws. Photo: Supplied
Troy William Reed, the de facto partner of Mason’s mother, was found guilty of the toddler’s death and was jailed for a minimum of 15 years. He has sought to appeal the decision.
Childcare workers in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia are not compelled by law to send pictures of suspected abuse to authorities.
Mr and Mrs Sandeman have campaigned for the laws to be changed and say their meeting with Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley on Monday is a milestone.
Grandfather John Sandeman with Mason Parker on a new tricycle. Photo: Supplied
“It’s important someone in authority - who makes decisions, who makes the law - is listening to us,” Mr Sandeman said.
With the exception of local MP Andrew Cripps, Mr Sandeman said he had received no support from the state LNP government. However it was a written response from Prime Minister Tony Abbott that set up the meeting with Ms Ley.
Mr Sandeman said he believed there would have been a “99.9 per cent chance” his grandson would be alive today if the laws were different.
Mason Parker Photo: Supplied
“This is so important for the wellbeing of little children that it should be Australia-wide,” he said.
“We don’t want any family or child to go through what we’re going through.”
Before Mason's death Mr Sandeman and his wife spent more than 50 hours a week caring for him. Mr Sandeman has fond memories of a little boy who loved his “Super Gran” and enjoyed playing on his tricycle.
“He changed our lives and he made our lives a hell of a lot better,” he said.
Following Mr Abbott’s letter to the Sandemans, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was considering changing mandatory reporting provisions for childcare workers.
He said the recent Carmody review on child protection did not make a recommendation along those lines, 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," Mr Newman said.