NATIONAL CHILDREN’S WEEK: CELEBRATING THE RIGHT OF CHILDREN TO BE HEARD

Federal Labor and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, this week celebrated National Children’s Week and the right of children to be heard.

Fair and equitable access to quality education, starting right from the early years, provides all children with the best start in life and enables them to achieve their best throughout their life.

This week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the valuable contribution children make in our society, and recognise their right to enjoy their childhood.

Children should have a right to a quality education and parents in this country should never have to decide whether or not they can afford to send their child to school

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states:

States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

[ARTICLE 12, UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHT OF THE CHILD]

We need to focus on allowing children the chance to speak up on the issues that important to them and make sure our society listen to their concerns.

Australia particularly needs to focus on engaging children from disadvantaged backgrounds, children with disability, children from regional communities, and children with English as their second language, if we are to ensure all children can equally be heard and can contribute to our society.

We are better as a nation if every child feels valued and protected.

The Abbott Government needs to explain to families why it has cut $1 billion from early childhood education programs and why it refuses to fund years five and six of the Gonski school funding reforms.

 

THURSDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2014