The Attorney General of Western Australia, Hon. John Quigley MLA, has rejected calls for a public inquest into the role of police in the death of baby Charlie Mullaley, while approving a parliamentary inquiry into the role of the family law system in a Margaret River mass-shooting.
Family members speak out:
The Mullaley family has spoken out on the Attorney General’s contradictory decision, saying that they cannot understand why their family’s request for an inquest has been rejected:
Baby Charlie’s mother, Tamica Mullaley, has said:
“Why aren’t they going to have a parliamentary inquiry on my son? The Attorney General should be helping people, not knocking them back. The whole system in Western Australia is just not right.”
“It’s really sad to hear the Attorney General doesn’t want to help. I am so upset – I feel like crying.”
“It’s just so draining and depressing. I want them to just do something, so it might stop other things like this happening.”
Baby Charlie’s grandparents, Ted and Julie Mullaley, have said:
“We feel we’re getting penalised for who we are. Through this whole episode, we feel like we’ve been treated harshly, and now we’re not getting the help that we could be getting.”
“We feel we haven’t had a fair go. It’s been a problem right from day one, and it’s still going on today.”
“The Attorney General knows what’s happened to us – he should take another look at the whole thing – he should want to investigate Baby Charlie’s death to ensure that no other child is treated this way by WA Police.”
Lawyers slam decision:
Justifying his decision to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the role of the family law system in the Margaret River shooting, the Attorney General said: “This is not a one-off, there have been other murder-suicides resulting from family disputations.”
The lawyer representing the Mullaley family, George Newhouse (National Justice Project Principal Solicitor and Director) challenged the Attorney General’s reasoning, saying:
“The Mullaley family’s experience is not one-off. Police discrimination against First Nations people is a systemic problem in Western Australia, as is the criminalisation of survivors of domestic violence.”
“The Attorney General’s decision is a slap in the face to the Mullaley family, who have long been calling for a public inquiry to investigate the role of police in the death of Baby Charlie.”
“Any average person looking at both cases could easily conclude that this is a snub to a First Nations family.”
Hannah McGlade, Associate Professor in Law at Curtin University, said that the Attorney General’s decision reflects bias and racism in the justice system:
“Issues of violence against Indigenous women often go unaddressed due to a serious problem of bias and racism in policing. The discrimination that exists throughout the justice system is killing our people and must stop.”
In March 2013, Tamica Mullaley was assaulted by her then de facto partner Mervyn Bell. Mr Bell punched Tamica repeatedly, caused internal, potentially fatal, damage, stripped her naked, and left her by the side of the road in Broome. Tamica, a victim of domestic violence, was then arrested following a police confrontation with her, and taken to hospital in handcuffs.
That night, Tamica’s father, Ted Mullaley, requested the police take Baby Charlie away from the crime scene. The police failed to intervene, and the baby was abducted by Mr Bell, who then sexually assaulted and murdered Baby Charlie the next day.
When Tamica and her father went to the police station to report her missing baby, the police failed to act on their repeated requests all night, and by the time they did take action, it was too late.
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