The mother of murdered Queensland foster child Tiahleigh Palmer has lost faith in the justice system.
Cindy Palmer says child killers are getting off too lightly and wants to see them kept behind bars beyond the minimum sentencing period.
“I think that life needs to be life, and murder needs to be murder,” she told reporters at a public forum held by the state’s Sentencing Advisory Council in Logan on Monday.
“It’s under such horrible circumstances, but we can come together as parents who have suffered the same and try to bring about some kind of change so that the next person who suffers through this doesn’t have to go through it as hard as we have.”
The council is reviewing penalties for child deaths under a directive from Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath.
In their submissions, parents and relatives of child victims have expressed a common view that existing penalties are inadequate.
“It’s probably one of the worst types of crimes you can imagine, so they’re understandably very upset at what they perceive is lenient sentencing,” council member Dan Rogers told AAP.
“The issue of manslaughter and murder is a really vexed one. There’s a perception that manslaughter doesn’t appropriately demonstrate the seriousness of a child homicide.”
Tiahleigh’s foster father Rick Thorburn was sentenced in May to a minimum 20 years in jail. He admitted he killed the 12-year-old because his own son, Trent, 18, had been having sex with her and feared she might be pregnant.
Trent was jailed for incest, while Thorburn’s other son, Joshua, and wife Julene, also served jail time for covering up the murder.
“I sat through four different court cases and each time I was slapped in the face with these pitiful sentences that didn’t reflect the crimes,” Ms Palmer said.
“Each time we went through these court cases it just broke us more and our faith in the system and ever getting any kind of justice just dwindled away.”
The parents of 18-month-old Mackay boy Hemi Goodwin-Burke, who was beaten to death by his babysitter Matthew James Ireland in 2015, have also called for tougher penalties.
Ireland pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin’s little boy and will be eligible for parole next year.
“Four years non-parole for beating a child until their death is not adequate, it’s not good enough,” Mr Burke said.
“We just want to do anything we can to make sure the next child victim doesn’t get let down by the system.”
Samantha Bricknell, from the Australian Institute of Criminology, told the forum the rate of people being charged with child homicide in Queensland was higher than in other states.
“We are seeing a larger number and a larger rate of child homicides occurring in Queensland and that’s been the case for most years since 1989,” Dr Bricknell said.
The council will deliver its final report to the government in October.