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Labor acts to deliver a better future for our kids.



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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Minister for Children and Youth Shadow Minister for Women

For more information or a copy of the bill contact: Nicola Roxon or Matt Nurse on (02) 6277 2039 or 0417 386 535

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Labor Acts to Deliver a Better Future for our Kids Nicola Roxon will today introduce a Private Member’s Bill into Parliament that would help to protect children from child abuse. Following Simon Crean’s Budget Reply, in which protecting our children was included as a Labor priority, today will Labor introduce the A Better Future for Our Kids Bill 2003 aims to help to protect children from known child abusers. Known as the Working with Children Check, Labor proposes that an Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People will implement a national system to screen people working or volunteering with children to determine if he or she has a history of offences against children. This checking system has worked well in NSW and Queensland but Labor believes national co-ordination and national leadership are vital. Further, the A Better Future for Our Kids Bill 2003 is designed to do much more than work to prevent child abuse. Labor’s Bill would see an Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People established that would advocate for the interests, rights and welfare of our kids across a broad range of issues. It is clear that we need to have checks on those people who are entrusted to look after our kids when parents are not around - but it is also clear we must value our children more and ensure their needs and interests are actively considered in the national debate. I am glad to put forward this constructive proposal after the recent revelations surrounding the cover up of child sexual abuse in the community. Further, I welcome the resignation of the Governor General and like any Australian I am conscious that something good must come out of these terrible events. The Government has already dragged its feet and continued a pattern of covering up on these issues - so it is about time they got on board with this positive, long-term initiative that could help make the country safer for our kids. Ms Roxon will speak on the tabling of her Bill at 12.40pm today in the House of Representatives. 26 May 2003