A National Commissioner for Australia’s Children
The need for a National Children’s Commissioner has long been voiced by organisations in Australia working with children and young people, and is one of Australia’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This need has been recognised recently by the Australian Children Rights Taskforce, chaired by UNICEF and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre in their submission to the UN CRC Committee (tabled as the Listen to Children Report and signed onto by over 98 Australian organisations who work with and for children).
In September 2011, AYAC and Australian Human Rights Commission co-hosted a Roundtable of Non-Government Organisations that work with children and young people, to seek consensus on the roles and responsibilities of a National Commissioner for Children and Young People.
The aim of the Roundtable was to develop a number of agreed key principles that would underpin the establishment, role, function and purpose of the role. Since then a number of organisations have added their endorsement of the document.
The following NGO Positions Paper, then, is the culmination of several months of discussion between leading children’s and youth organisations. The high level of support and consensus in the sector demonstrates the strongly held view that Australia needs a National Children’s Commissioner, as has long been voiced by the huge number of organisations in Australia working with children and young people.