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Children need a real choice and a real voice!

National Children's Commissioner appointed

First National Children's Commissioner Appointed

MON 25 FEBRUARY 2013Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Community ServicesCanberra

The Gillard Government today announced the appointment of Ms Megan Mitchell as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner.

The Government congratulates Megan Mitchell on this important and historic appointment.

The Gillard Government is establishing a dedicated advocate for children and young people at a national level as part of our commitment to giving kids the best start in life.

Ms Mitchell is a strong voice for vulnerable children in her current role as New South Wales Commissioner for Children and Young People and she will bring that experience to the national stage

We want every child to grow up safe, happy and well. The new Commissioner will make sure the needs of children and young people are put front and centre.

Importantly, Ms Mitchell will have a clear focus on vulnerable or at-risk groups of children, such as children with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, homeless children or those who are witnessing or subjected to violence.

The appointment of the National Commissioner is a key achievement under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

The work of the former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon MP in establishing Australia’s first ever National Children’s Commissioner was acknowledged by the Government.

The National Children’s Commissioner will sit within the Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia’s national independent statutory body dealing with human rights.

The Commissioner will promote public discussion and awareness of issues affecting children; conduct research and education programs; consult directly with children and representative organisations; and examine Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s human rights

The ACT Children & Young People Commissioner, Mr Alasdair Roy, ran a series of sessions in the ACT with students between the ages of 9 and 11 as part of the selection process.

Ms Mitchell has been appointed as National Children’s Commissioner for a period of five years commencing 25 March 2013.

Human Rights for kids still unclear

Justice for Children Australia is very glad that children are at last being considered as worthy of having a National Commissioner, located in the Human Rights Commission.

Our worry is that this office may perpetuate the practices of the NSW Commission for Children and Young People (where Megan Mitchell has recently been Commissioner) - no consideration of Family Law issues. Working with Children Checks - yes! but Living with Children checks - no!

We hope that one of the first tasks that NCC takes on is revisiting the report HRC published in 1997 This report clearly shows that kids don't have a real choice or a real voice. Has anything changed for the better??

We hope the Royal Commission may offer - at last - a chance for the abuses perpetuated by the Family Law process to be scrutinised...but who knows? If you do - please tell us! [email protected]

Here's an extract from the Letters patent which apparently covers what the RC can investigate:

  • "what institutions and governments should do to better protect children against child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts in the future;
  • what institutions and governments should do to achieve best practice in encouraging the reporting of, and responding to reports or information  about, allegations, incidents or risks of child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts;
  • what should be done to eliminate or reduce impediments that currently exist for responding appropriately to child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including addressing failures in, and impediments to, reporting, investigating and responding to allegations and incidents of abuse;
  • what institutions and governments should do to address, or alleviate the impact of, past and future child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including, in particular, in ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions, processes for referral for investigation and prosecution and support services."

If that doesn't include the Family Court and related systems - then they're all *damned equivocators!

*Faith, here's an equivocator, that could

swear in both the scales against either scale;

who committed treason enough for God's sake,

yet could not equivocate to heaven. Macbeth act 2 scene 3