National Children’s Commissioner a Step Closer
24 May 2012 at 12:33 pm
Legislation to establish a National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission has been introduced into the Federal Parliament.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said: “A National Children’s Commissioner has the important task of promoting the rights, wellbeing and development of children and young people in Australia.”
“For the first time, Australia’s kids will have a voice at the national level looking out for their interests.
“The Children’s Commissioner will ensure children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable, are heard in the development of Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs.
“Crucially, the Commissioner will consult directly with children and young people to ensure their voices are heard and their needs pursued,” the Attorney General said.
The Australian Human Rights Commission Amendment (National Children’s Commissioner) Bill 2012 provides for the Children’s Commissioner to take a broad advocacy role to promote public awareness of issues affecting children, conduct research and education programs, consult directly with children and representative organisations as well as monitor Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s rights, wellbeing and development.
The Attorney General told Parliament during the Second Reading Speech that the National Children's Commissioner 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.
A National Children's Commissioner will also provide an annual report to the Government each year on key issues affecting children's rights, wellbeing and development that will be tabled in the parliament.
“The position will also contribute to meeting Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and reinforce our commitment to our international obligations and relationship with the United Nations,” the Attorney General said.
The Government says it will call for expressions of interest for the position shortly with the new Commissioner expected to take office by the end of 2012.