Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston was in Bundaberg during her campaign to become a Queensland senator.
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston was in Bundaberg during her campaign to become a Queensland senator. Mike Knott BUN090519HET3

Senate candidate pushes for family law reform

THE founder of a child protection group visited Bundaberg yesterday, during her independent campaign to become a Queensland senator.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston's key platform is based on changing the family law system, and she said the best way to do that was by having a royal commission investigating its bureaucratic weaknesses.

"Our kids are dying, they are committing suicide...they are turning to crime and drugs simply because the adult systems are not there for our kids," she said.

"They are failing them in the most horrific way and that's why you're seeing this great surge in youth crime and youth suicide and drugs."

Ms Johnston said that the system needed to listen more to children and to better accept their evidence.

She said the statements of children were often overlooked in the legal system.

"We don't listen to kids, who are most likely to be telling the truth and are least likely to be heard."

Ms Johnston founded Bravehearts in 1997 after her daughter was sexually assaulted, because there was no organisation that focused specifically on dealing with child sexual abuse.

She said more needed to be done by working within parliament house.

"I need to be thumping that table and poking those people in the ribs, and I will fight like a banshee for our kids," Ms Johnston said.

"If my butt lands on that leather the dust will not settle."

Ms Johnston said she had no choice but to campaign to become an independent senator, but it allowed her to keep her voice in politics rather than lose it in a party.

"People have been forgotten in politics.

"Politics is about power and greed.

"Look how hungry they are for it, they spend millions of dollars to get it."