Michelle Lensink

Ms Graziella Dailler

A motion referring to the death of Graziella Dailler.

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: That this council urges the Attorney-General to—

1. Refer the death of Graziella Daillér, who died on or about 15 May 2014, to the Coroner for a coronial inquest; and

2. Request an inquiry into all the circumstances leading up to Graziella Daillér's death, including but not limited to—

(a) ascertaining the actual date of death;

(b) identifying the cause of death;

(c) identifying the circumstances of the alleged killing by Dion Muir and his death;

(d) identification and assessment of the involvement of agencies, including SA Police, prior to the deaths;

(e) identification and assessment of the response of agencies, including SA Police, after receiving notification that Graziella Daillér was missing and at risk of harm; and

(f) any other circumstance that contributed to the death of Graziella Daillér.

(Continued from 14 October 2015.)

The Hon. J.M. GAZZOLA: Graziella Daillér was murdered by her partner Dion Muir on 15 May 2014, after which Mr Muir committed suicide. It is alleged that Mr Muir had been violent towards Ms Daillér over a number of years, and that this terrible crime is both as shocking as it is unacceptable. Domestic violence has no place in our community, and the government is taking a strong stance against domestic violence through the implementation of policies that both prevent and deter incidents of domestic violence. As a general principle, it is a matter for the Coroner to make an informed determination as to whether an inquest is necessary or desirable, as spelled out by the act. In keeping with this principle, the government seeks to amend the motion so that the council requests the Coroner to conduct an inquiry. I believe that the amendment has been circulated, and I therefore move: Leave out all words after 'That this council urges' and insert in lieu thereof the following:

'The Coroner to conduct an inquiry into all circumstances leading up to Graziella Daillér's death on or about 15 May 2014, including but not limited to:

(a) ascertaining the actual day of death;

(b) identifying the cause of death;

(c) identify the circumstances of the alleged killing of Dion Muir and his death;

(d) identification and assessment of the involvement of agencies, including SA Police, prior to the deaths;

(e) identification and assessment of the response of agencies, including SA Police, after receiving notification that Graziella Dailler was missing and at risk of harm; and

(f) any other circumstances that contributed to the death of Graziella Dailler.

The Hon. T.A. Franks: I rise to indicate, briefly, that the Greens commend the Hon. Michelle Lensink for bringing this motion before this place and drawing attention to the serious issues around the way that we respond to deaths in domestic violence and, indeed, the way that we respond to domestic violence when people are alive. Graziella has been failed in her life by our state institutions and we should not see her failed again in her death. That is why the Greens will be supporting the Hon. Michelle Lensink's motion.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am motivated to make a comment in response to the suggested amendment by the Hon. John Gazzola. I certainly respect that the Hon. John Gazzola's motion reflects the statutory principle within the Coroners Act that primarily the responsibility to make decisions in relation to a coronial inquest is a matter for the Coroner. In that sense, the Hon. John Gazzola's motion respects that principle. However, I would remind the council that yesterday the Premier stood on the front steps of Parliament House and gave a commitment that a particular death would be the subject of a coronial inquest through the provisions in the Coroners Act for the Attorney-General to request the Coroner to undertake an inquest. In that sense, I believe the Hon. Michelle Lensink's motion is completely in accord with the Premier's intention yesterday, that in appropriate circumstances the Attorney-General can request an inquest, and I believe the council should, therefore, consider the Hon. Michelle Lensink's motion on its merits.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: Point of order: Madam Acting President, I draw your attention to the state of the council. A quorum having been formed:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: It is my duty to sum up this motion and, in doing so, first of all, I thank the indulgence of the council for allowing this matter to be brought forth. It has been on the Notice Paper for a significant amount of time, because I moved the motion originally in October 2015, prior to disappearing on maternity leave for a certain period of time and I would have hoped, in the time that I was away, that it would have been resolved—however, it was not to be.

I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the Hon. John Gazzola, the Hon. Tammy Franks and the Hon. Stephen Wade. I did actually call for this item to be voted on last year in November, but, because of the way our rules work, the motion would have been on too late. I thought it was important that the family should be able to attend and it was going to be too late at night.

I would again like to acknowledge Graziella's children, one of whom is here: Natasha Palmer. Also, Adelaide Holly came late last year when it was called to a vote, and Vincent Holly, who have been courageous in their stance and have been publicly advocating for this particular matter. Also, again, I would like to acknowledge the member for Bragg, who has attempted to move a similar motion in the House of Assembly, and Graziella's children's local member, Mr Michael Pengilly, the member for Finniss.

Last year, prior to calling the motion to vote, I was in touch with Mrs Palmer (Tash), who said the following via email:

We got a phone call from the coroner's office a few months ago—

which I understand was in September—

confirming they will conduct an inquest and they gave us a date…then 2 days later cancelled it saying they will keep in touch to let us know when the new date will be but still haven't heard anything! It's extremely hard for us to be able to start the grieving process and come to terms with everything, so that was a little disappointing to hear they had to change the date.

Nevertheless we are appreciative that an inquest will be conducted as it should be!

That's where we are at, which is still pretty much in the dark. It was very disappointing for them that the inquest was cancelled and months have intervened and still there is no date.

This matter was raised in the House of Assembly in question time by Ms Chapman, the member for Bragg, in December last year. She asked the Attorney-General about whether this matter would be referred to the Coroner. He made some remarks, which the Hon. Stephen Wade referred to in his contribution, in that he is of the view that he should not intervene in the Coroner's workload. I will just quote from the Hansard from the House of Assembly from that day. The Attorney-General says, in his reply, as follows:

Members may or may not be aware that under the Coroner's Act a great many deaths as a matter of law are referred to the Coroner. So, any unexplained death, any death which arises from a fire, or deaths in prison, or a whole range of other things wind up on the Coroner's desk. If the Coroner were to investigate each and every one of those deaths, the Coroner would be, I am confident, sitting under a massive backlog of work which would reach out into the decades.

To that I say, under section 21 of the Coroner's Act it is certainly up to the Attorney-General to refer particular matters to the Coroner, and, as my colleague the Hon. Stephen Wade has advised the chamber, as recently as yesterday the Premier said that, even though the Attorney-General has had a zero approach to referring matters himself to the Coroner, that has been altered by a commitment from the Premier. So, there really is no impediment to that taking place.

I think it is disappointing in a matter which is as significant as this. It is domestic violence and there are many, many words said in this place about domestic violence, and it is important that these matters are referred very quickly. The longer the matter is delayed, not only is the family continuing to not have closure but the potential systems changes that could happen are delayed. We saw a large number of recommendations come out of the Coroner's investigation of Zahra Abrahimzadeh, and we do not know what other recommendations may arise from an inquest into Graziella Daillér's death that may assist these matters into the future.

With those words, I commend the motion to the house and indicate to honourable members that I will not be supporting the government's suggested amendments to the motion. I will be calling a divide.


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