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Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010

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Private Senators' Bill introduced by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Australian Greens


Portfolio                               Youth

Legislation                          Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010


·          The amendments circulated today clarify that the CCCYP will be located legally and administratively within the Australian Human Rights Commission. This departs from the former iteration of the Bill which had the Commission as an independent advocate not located in any pre-existing structure. It is logical that it is located alongside the ATSI, age, disability, race and sex commissioners. However the CCCYP remains effectively independent from the government.

·          The amendments remove the responsibility of the CCCYP to act as legal guardian for unaccompanied minors, and also removes the role of the CCCYP in acting on the behalf of young people in immigration detention.

·          The amendments enable the CCCYP's annual report to be part of the annual AHRC report tabled to the Minister. However the amendments ensure that the CCCYP has the capacity to submit ad hoc reports to Parliament at any time with no involvement of the Minister.

·          The amendments ensure that the CCCYP may report directly to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child as an additional report to that provided by the Minister on behalf of Australia.

·          There are also a number of technical amendments which support the above key changes.

·          Pre-existing features : Pre-existing features: the Bill’s core features include (non-exhaustively) the requirement for the CCCYP to function with a high level of accessible consultation with children and young people; for the CCCYP to particularly focus on vulnerable and at risk groups; for the CCCYP to be clearly independent of the Minister.



Background                        This proposal is not new. It has been on the agenda at a community and parliamentary level for some time and a number of other countries have national Commissioners for Children and Young people, including Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australia is required to establish a national Commissioner and as such this is urgently needed reform.

These amendments have been drafted in response to detailed feedback provided to Senator Hanson-Young by a broad coalition of children's and young people's non-government organisations, and the evidence and recommendations raised in the inquiry into the bill in May 2011.