Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Jenkins, Mrs A.

The Hon. C. BONAROS (14:56): I rise to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney a question about a coronial inquiry.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: This week, in Penang, Malaysia, a coronial inquiry recommenced into the mysterious disappearance and presumed robbery and murder of Adelaide wife, mother and grandmother Anna Jenkins, or Annapuranee Jenkins, who disappeared in the city in December 2017. The inquest has been a complete and utter farce according to reports that we have heard, including investigating police officers making up a number of unsubstantiated allegations that can't be backed up with any sort of evidence.

Yesterday, the inquest heard from a project manager at a $100 million housing development in Penang who admitted he had discovered Mrs Jenkins' remains at the site in 2020 but had them buried and never reported their discovery to the police. In most jurisdictions, including Malaysia, that is a major crime that attracts a significant jail term, yet that shocking revelation at the inquest yesterday—according to Mrs Jenkins' son, Greg, who has attended every day of the inquest so far this year—failed to attract the attention, the concern or the ire of the coroner conducting the inquiry or the DPP lawyers questioning the witness.

Such has been the concerning proceedings, my colleague the Hon. Frank Pangallo has formally written to you, Attorney, asking if our own state Coroner can conduct his own inquiry here, which he can do under the Coroners Act, to give the Jenkins family the closure they are so desperately seeking and are unlikely to get in Malaysia. My questions to the Attorney are:

1. Have you spoken to the Coroner about conducting a coronial inquiry into Mrs Jenkins' death here in South Australia?

2. What other courses of action are available to the state government to ensure justice is pursued for Mrs Jenkins' likely murder?

3. Is the state government monitoring the inquest underway in Penang and, if so, does it have its own concerns over those proceedings?

4. Is the government prepared to write a letter to those authorities voicing its concerns over the conduct of the inquiry?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:59): I thank the honourable member for her question, and it is certainly an issue that the honourable member's colleague the Hon. Frank Pangallo has pursued quite rightly with vigour to seek justice for the family of Anna Jenkins.

Following the reports does make for disturbing reading about some of the ways the family and the victim have been treated. Certainly, we don't have extraterritorial powers in terms of how any sort of judicial or other sort of coronial inquiry is conducted by foreign bodies. I do know that this matter was mentioned by the foreign affairs minister, Senator Penny Wong, when she was in Malaysia recently.

I have received correspondence from the Hon. Frank Pangallo and I have written, with that correspondence, to the Coroner seeking his advice about whether South Australia will consider a coronial inquest in South Australia, and I will certainly be informing the Hon. Frank Pangallo when I receive a response about the Coroner's view on an inquest into Anna Jenkins in South Australia.