Legislation to establish National Children’s Commissioner

Legislation to establish a National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission has been introduced into Parliament by the Gillard Government. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the position would result in better outcomes for children.

“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,” Ms Roxon said.

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. Establishing a National Children’s Commissioner has been a longstanding Labor commitment and that’s why I’m so delighted we are making this a reality. Our children are our future and if we do not value them, we cannot ever hope to protect them. A National Children’s Commissioner will put their needs front and centre,” Ms Roxon said.

The Australian Human Rights Commission Amendment (National Children’s Commissioner) Bill 2012 (Cth) 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 Government will call for expressions of interest for the position shortly with the new Commissioner expected to take office by the end of 2012.

Source: Attorney-General’s Office