Today I reintroduced the Public Advocate Bill in Parliament to provide a voice for bereaved families and make sure the mistakes of Hillsborough aren’t repeated – something the Hillsborough Families fervently wish to see.
This Bill, backed by the Hillsborough Families Support Group, would introduce an independent Public Advocate to represent families in the aftermath of tragedy. It would set up an independent review (like the Hillsborough Independent Panel process – but at a much earlier stage) if families want it, to find out what happened and why. It would make sure there was transparency and openness rather than families feeling alienated, ignored and let down by official proceedings, as happened with Hillsborough and has unfortunately happened with other disasters.
There have been and continue to be disasters that kill and injure people. As much as we would like to, we can’t stop tragedy, but we can improve the way that the aftermath of the events is handled to make sure bereaved families are helped rather than hindered. If enacted, the Public Advocate Bill would stand as a tribute to the collective strength, fight and stamina of the Hillsborough families and survivors. It would mark a lasting change in the law to make sure that families, never again, have to battle to get truth and justice after public disasters.
Read a transcript of Maria introducing the Bill, in full, here.