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New Commissioner: Greens move to protect children.



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Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens

New Commissioner - Greens Move To Protect Children

Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young

Wednesday 12th May 2010, 3:22pm

The Australian Greens have today moved to protect young Australians by introducing a bill into the Senate

to establish a Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People, according to Greens Senator

Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Youth and Human Rights, says legislation is needed to

protect the rights of young Australians.

"From children who are bullied at school, to the babies, infants and kids who are victims of abuse or

neglect, to the thousands of children and young people who are homeless on our streets every night, we

have a vulnerable generation of young Australians and we need to do more to help them,'' Senator

Hanson-Young said.

"There is no national figure whose sole role is to stand up for children's rights - but there should be. That's

why I am introducing a bill today to establish a Commissioner who would provide a voice for children, a

means of communication with government, and a simple way to register complaints about how they are

treated.

''Australia has international obligations as a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but

it is clear that there is a long way to go to live up to these obligations.

For example:

In 2008/09, there were 32,641 Australian children who had a confirmed case of abuse or neglect.

The largest single age group of homeless people in Australia are aged 12 to 18.

The bill was drafted in consultation with Save the Children, who have endorsed the legislation. Other

groups such as UNICEF and the Human Rights Commission have previously strongly supported the need

for a national body to protect children's rights.

"We call on all parties in Parliament to recognize the importance of this issue, and work together to provide

greater protection for young Australians. I hope they will support this Bill,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"If we want to tackle serious problems such as child abuse, homelessness, poor education, poverty and

social disadvantage, we must value our children more and the key role they play in our community.

"A Commissioner for Children and Young People would be a good start to achieve this goal.''

Senator Hanson-Young is scheduled to introduce the bill into the Senate at 3.30pm TODAY.

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