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A Better Future for Our Kids Bill 2003

Part 1 Preliminary

   

1   Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the A Better Future for Our Kids Act 2003 .

2   Commencement

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), this Act commences on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

             (2)  A proclamation for the purposes of subsection (1) must not be made until the Parliament has appropriated funds for the operation of the Office of National Commissioner for Children and Young People.

             (3)  If the Parliament appropriates funds and this Act does not commence within a period of 6 months beginning on the day on which the Act authorising the appropriation receives the Royal Assent, it commences on the first day after the end of that period.

             (4)  If the Parliament does not appropriate funds this Act does not commence at all.

3   Main object of Act

                   The main object of this Act is to establish a National Commissioner for Children and Young People in order to:

                     (a)  provide national leadership and advocacy on children’s and young people’s issues; and

                     (b)  monitor and promote the well being of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged; and

                     (c)  encourage understanding of the interests, rights and welfare of children and young people; and

                     (d)  encourage the participation of children and young people in the community.

4   Principles underlying this Act

                   The following principles underlie this Act:

                     (a)  every child is a valued member of society; and

                     (b)  the family has the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of its children and should be supported in that role; and

                     (c)  every child is entitled to be protected from abuse, exploitation and discrimination; and

                     (d)  every child is entitled to form and express views and have those views taken into account in a way that has regard to the child’s age and maturity; and

                     (e)  in decisions involving children the child’s best interests are of primary concern.

5   Definitions

                   In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

child means a person who is under the age of 18 years.

child abuse means:

                     (a)  assault (including sexual assault) of a child; or

                     (b)  ill-treatment or neglect of a child; or

                     (c)  exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that psychologically harms the child,

whether or not, in any case, with the consent of the child.

child-related employment means any employment that involves direct contact with children where the contact is not directly supervised, and includes any employment of a kind prescribed by the regulations but does not include any employment of a kind excluded by the regulations.

child-related volunteer means a person who performs work as a volunteer for an organisation and the work involves direct contact with children where the contact is not directly supervised, and includes any work of a kind prescribed by the regulations but does not include any work of a kind excluded by the regulations.

Commissioner means the National Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Commonwealth agency means:

                     (a)  a Department of State; or

                     (b)  a body established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth.

employee means any person who is engaged in employment within the meaning of this Act.

employer means a person who engages a person in employment within the meaning of this Act, and includes a person who, in the course of a business, arranges for the placement of a person in employment with others.

employer-related body means any body that supervises, represents or has other functions with respect to an employer.

employment means (subject to the regulations):

                     (a)  performance of work under a contract of employment, or

                     (b)  performance of work as a subcontractor; or

                     (c)  undertaking practical training as part of an educational or vocational course.

relevant apprehended violence order has the meaning prescribed in the regulations.

relevant criminal record has the meaning prescribed in the regulations.

relevant disciplinary proceedings means disciplinary proceedings against an employee by the employer or by a professional or other body that supervises the professional conduct of the employee, being completed proceedings involving:

                     (a)  child abuse or sexual misconduct by the employee; or

                     (b)  acts of violence committed by the employee in the course of employment.

The regulations may declare that, for the purposes of this Part, disciplinary proceedings of a particular kind are or are not relevant disciplinary proceedings.

young people means people who are 18 to 25 years of age.

6   Operation of State and Territory laws

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the operation of a law of a State or Territory that is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.

7   Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to every external Territory.

8   Extent to which Act binds the Crown

             (1)  This Act binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth, but does not make the Crown liable to be prosecuted for an offence.

             (2)  For the avoidance of doubt, Crown includes the Office of the National Commissioner for Children and Young People.