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Scrapping of the children's commission



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Leader of the Opposition ' ' ’ 1

Statement by the Hon. E.G. Whitlam, Q.C.,M.P.

3 June 1976

. SCRAPPING OF THE CHILDREN'S COMMISSION

The Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will disband the Children's Commission - the instrument of Labor's plans for child care, pre-schooling and other services for children deals a heavy blow to mothers, families and children everywhere.

No warning was given in the Liberal policy speech, the Governor-General1s speech or anywhere else of the intention to abolish the Commission. The Liberals in opposition supported the bill in both Houses. ’ .

Although the legislation setting up the Commission was passed in the last Parliament, the Liberals in Government refused to proclaim the Act. The Commission remained in limbo while the Government fobbed off questions about it in Parliament.

The decision to retain some functions of the Commission under the control of the Department of Social Security means that children's services will become a form of charity rather than a general social advance for the entire community.

. Children's services are not something needed only, by the very poor. They are needed by parents and children at every . . socio-economic level. Pre-schooling, like other forms of education should be the right of every child. . . . .

Many thousands of Australians are unable to lead a full life - in employment or recreation - because there are no facilities for looking after children. The Children's Commission was not intended merely to spend public money or run Government services but to assist and co-ordinate all local,.community and voluntary child

services. . - -

Press Statement No : ©

Adequate child care services were promised by the Liberals in 1969. The Gorton and McMahon Governments did little about them. The Labor Government was the first to conduct a thorough inquiry - into children's needs and set up a body to deal with them. "

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Under the Fraser Government there willrnp longer be an expert independent authority to plan and supervise a full range of services for children. Children of well-to-do parents will have an advantage in life denied to the children of working class, and many middle class, families, · · .

CANBERRA

Parliament H ouse, Canberra, A.C.T. 2 6 0 0