Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said Robert Paul Long should spend life behind bars for the Childers Backpacker Fire.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said Robert Paul Long should spend life behind bars for the Childers Backpacker Fire.

Burnett MP makes case to quash backpacker arsonist’s parole bid

MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett told Queensland Parliament tonight that Robert Paul Long, the man responsible for the Childers Backpacker Fire, should be locked up for life.

Richard Tempest, one of the survivors, watched on in the parliament chamber as Mr Bennett spoke on behalf of the survivors and victims to make a case for Long’s parole application to be quashed.

Mr Bennett said the convicted killer’s bid for freedom is causing indescribable torment for the survivors and their families.

“Victims and their families are reliving this nightmare all over again, two decades on, at the thought of this despicable man’s freedom,” he said.

“15 young lives were cut short, and another 70 have been left emotionally scarred for eternity because of this evil man.

“I have letters from survivors who were in the prime of their lives at the time of the horrific fire, and these letters outline the significant trauma they have experienced, and continue to experience, from the nightmare.”

Survivor, Kate Morris, who suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, outlined in a letter how she and her sister still suffer from nightmares and said that they both suffered flashbacks and anxiety.

Mr Bennett said he would not rest until he secured a guarantee that the convicted killer would remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

“That parole application of Robert Long’s should be burnt, just like he burnt down the historic Palace Hostel,” he said.

“One of Australia’s worst mass murderers deserves to be locked up for life. He belongs behind bars.”