Thursday 8 August 2019

Hansard of the Legislative Council
Coronial Investigation - Reportable Deaths



[2.58 p.m.]
Given that state coroners throughout Australia have welcomed a proposal of the Human Rights Commission for a study to consider the collection of nationwide data on patterns in domestic violence homicides and as Tasmania is only state without a state coroner and a death review team, when will this Government correct the deficiency?


Mr President, I thank the member for Rosevears for his question.  The Coronial Division of the Magistrates Court of Tasmania, established by the Coroners Act 1995, is responsible for investigating reportable deaths and headed by a full-time coroner.  The Chief Coroner is the delegate of the Chief Magistrate for many aspects of the legislation and is joined by two other magistrate coroners. 

The coroners in the course in investigating deaths may consider a range of factors, including the provision or failure of support services and the deceased's interactions with the services. 

In a small jurisdiction such as Tasmania, with a small number of full-time magistrates serving as full-time coroners, it is easier for trends and patterns to be identified than in some other, larger jurisdictions.

The identification of patterns and trends is part of the purpose of a death review mechanism.

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network was established in 2011 as an initiative of state and territory death review processes and is endorsed by all state and territory coroners, and the Western Australian Ombudsman.

The network's goals include producing national data concerning domestic and family violence‑related homicides in accordance with the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2010-2022.

The Coronial Division of the Magistrates Court is a member of the network.  In that capacity, it contributed to the development of the first Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network Data Report, published in 2018.

With this work, Tasmania contributes to the formation of national evidence-based policy and decision-making in relation to domestic and family violence, enhancing opportunities for prevention and intervention, and contributing to the enhanced safety of women and their children across Australia.