Date: 
Monday 30 April 2012

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement that a National Children’s Commissioner will be appointed at the Commission.

Commission President Catherine Branson QC said the Commissioner will be an important advocate for the protection and promotion of the rights of children and young people across Australia and will help ensure that their voices are heard.  

“The Children’s Commissioner will consult with children and young people and their representatives, will monitor how they are impacted by Commonwealth law and policy and will conduct research into key issues affecting children,” Ms Branson said.

“The Commission looks forward to this important appointment which will enhance the work that the Commission already conducts to promote children’s rights in Australia, including in its work on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with a disability and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The work of a National Children’s Commissioner will also complement the important work conducted by state and territory children’s commissioners and guardians.”

The new Children’s Commissioner will monitor whether Australia is meeting its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UN Committee on the Rights of a Child raised the importance of a dedicated national monitor of children’s rights in its last review of Australia.

“Currently, there is no coordinated approach to protecting children’s rights across Australia. There are many groups of young people at risk of falling through the gaps – such as children experiencing homelessness, Indigenous children and children in immigration detention,” Ms Branson said.

“A National Children’s Commissioner will play an important role in advocating for the protection of the human rights of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Australia.”

The Government has announced that it will call for expressions of interest for the position shortly, will introduce legislation later this year and expects that the new Commissioner will take office prior to the end of 2012.

Media contact: Julie Nehme (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

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