Govt accused of suicide cover up

PREMIER Anna Bligh said in Parliament yesterday there was no government cover up after the suicide deaths of two Maryborough teens - but grieving mum Cindy McNulty believes differently.

Her daughter Felicia Goodson was 16 when she took her own life in 2009, after Child Safety Services ignored her complaints that she was being sexually abused.

Felicia's death came just weeks after the suicide of her friend Zoe Gough, a depressed 16-year-old mum who was also known to Child Safety Services.

After weeks of political pressure, Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves released a series of damning reports last Thursday, which revealed that the department's failings had directly contributed to Felicia's death and had also let Zoe down.

But a fierce debate arose in Parliament during question time yesterday when the Opposition accused the government of trying to cover up the Child Safety Department's role in the girls' suicides.

Opposition child safety spokeswoman Tracy Davis questioned whether Mr Reeves deliberately tried to stall the release of the reports in order to hide the department's failings.

"Doesn't the Minister's belated release of reports into the deaths of children in care - after being over-ruled by the Premier - prove he was attempting to cover-up the findings all along?" Ms Davis said.

Ms Bligh rejected any suggestion that the government had tried to keep the files secret.

"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, and nor has it been produced this morning, that there has been any attempt by the Minister to cover up anything," she said.

"It was a thorough investigation according to the laws of Queensland. What happened to that report and its recommendations? They were fully implemented."

But Felicia's mum Cindy McNulty still believed the government was hiding information that could help her uncover the full story behind her daughter's death.

"I think they're just trying to cover their own backsides," Ms McNulty said.

"There's still information missing about a lot of things and the reports haven't really answered what the department did or didn't do to help."

She said she was still dumbfounded by the admission that Child Safety Services did not believe Felicia's claims that she had been molested.

"I want the cases to be re-opened and to have every document relating to it," Ms McNulty said. "I've got to do this for my family and myself. I've got to do this for Felicia."

People in crisis can phone Lifeline on 131 114.


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