Attorney-General Elise Archer needs to come clean on what taxpayer-funded legal measures she intends to deploy to try and prevent the survivors of a decade-long northern Tasmanian case involving serious child sexual abuse from obtaining justice.
Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said the deeply confronting case involving allegations against former Launceston General Hospital paediatric nurse James Griffin had left a tragic trail of survivors.
Some of those survivors have now launched legal action against the Tasmanian Health Service but Ms Haddad said the THS has filed defences in the Supreme Court, challenging evidence and arguing about taking responsibility for Griffin’s alleged offences.
The legal argument comes despite former Health Minister Sarah Courtney issuing an apology to “any victim both now and in the past” earlier this year.
“Tasmanians are right to ask why the Liberal Government would challenge the claims of these survivors and attempt to prevent them from obtaining justice,” Ms Haddad said.
“It is completely out of touch with community expectation that the government would attempt to drag these survivors through the courts to avoid paying them compensation.
“As Tasmania’s first law officer, Elise Archer needs to explain how far she intends to go to approve legal action and how much it will cost taxpayers.”
Ms Haddad said it would be of little comfort to survivors that Ms Archer and the government had form driving legal action to prevent other Tasmanians obtaining what they were entitled to.
“Earlier this year, Ms Archer continued her extraordinary court battle against firefighters who were seeking what amounted to less than $20,000 in backpay.
“The Attorney-General proceeded to a Full Court appeal in this matter, after she had already hauled these firefighters before both the Industrial Commission and the Supreme Court – and lost twice.
“In that case, Ms Archer was prepared to spend far, far more on legal fees than the actual amount owed to those frontline workers.
“The Minister needs to be honest about the extent which taxpayers will fund this latest mean-spirited legal matter.”
Ella Haddad MP