8 February 2019
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston has criticised the family court for letting a "known domestic violence offender" be alone with his baby boy after they were found dead in a car on the Sunshine Coast.
Council workers found the bodies of the 46-year-old father and six-month-old son near a Sunshine Coast camping ground at Coochin Creek on Wednesday.
The child's mother reported them missing on Sunday after the father and baby boy did not meet her as specified in custody arrangements despite police stating the report occurred on Monday.
Katie Buckingham opened a GoFundMe campaign a day after the bodies were found to help her cousin pay for her baby boy's funeral and mortgage.
On Friday, QPS Ethical Standards Command assistant commissioner Sharon Cowden confirmed the father was stopped by police for a random breath test and was issued a speeding ticket.
She said there was no sign of child in the car at the time but would not say whether the car was searched.
Ms Cowden said she could not comment on the speeding ticket or where the man was pulled over and other circumstances because it was under investigation.
An Amber Alert was also not used.
Ms Cowden said QPS would look at the systems and processes in the decision making in this case to understand what has happened so we can reflect on this as a whole.
However, Ms Johnston has criticised the courts and its systems in place for failing Australian children and blaming Queensland Police because they 'stuffed up'.
"It's tragic that we've got another baby being murdered by a parent," she said.
"This is going on across the country on an all too regular basis because the family law system, which includes the family court and police in each state and territory and child protection, is failing our children."
"I feel as though the court systems and the family courts have almost thrown their hands up and just given up.
"There's no real assessment of danger as it might apply to the child."
Ms Johnston, who was calling for a better risk assessment, said the death of the six-month-old boy was a "symphony of dysfunction and death".
"We've got a family court issuing an order that this person should have unsupervised access despite the fact that he's a known domestic violence perpetrator, that just doesn't pass any common sense," she said.
"The family court is issuing these notices like confetti and these police are having to deal with that when it gets to this level when those parents don't bring those kids back.
"The courts are failing to assess at the beginning and failing to protect the child."
"Where is the child safety on this? They've got a responsibility but we're not hearing from them, they're doing a hot potato and then we've got police who have totally stuffed this up."
"The one that pays the price is this child especially and the mother."
Ms Johnston said there needed to be a royal commission.
"I don't know how many kids have to die on a mantle of self-protectionism by the systems, these systems are protecting themselves and not the children," she said.
"We tried to learn from Tiahleigh Palmer, we were going to learn from that but there was no amber alert in this case now and there wasn't one then either because it was a foster care thing."
"If you put out an amber alert on all of them that thing would be going off every five minutes, it's that common so this is why we need a proper assessment in the first instance."
"This father was given access to this baby.
"None of this would have happened if that didn't happen."
Queensland Police Service was conducting an ongoing internal investigation into the circumstances leading up to the death of the child and man.
The investigation would examine all aspects of the police response and would report to the coroner.
The QPS Ethical Standards Command investigation will be separate to an ongoing criminal investigation into the deaths, led by regional and specialist police.