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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2500 ..

Garrett Purtill and Sean Costello, who have worked pretty tirelessly. They will need post-traumatic stress counselling once this is over. But I really appreciate the work they have put in and the work they have undertaken with members’ offices in getting us to this position today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 6, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 7.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.44): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 2538].

I am presenting this amendment to clause 7 because I do not feel that the participation of children and young people is sufficiently enshrined in the principles of the bill as it stands.

In her submission to the exposure draft for this bill, the Public Advocate drew our attention to the fact that, while the bill does mention and makes efforts to provide for reasonable opportunity for children and young people to express their views, there is not enough consideration given to the process of participation. Though clause 7 in the government’s bill states that services provided for the wellbeing, care and protection of young people take into account the views and wishes of children and young people, I do not feel that just taking them into account is adequate. “Take into account” suggests that while the decision makers may talk to the child they may not work their views into the decision. It does not suggest an active involvement by the child or young person, or their choice not to be involved. It does not suggest that any explanation be given about why a suggestion was incorporated or discarded.

My amendment ensures the participation of children and young people in the processes affecting their lives by ensuring that the services provided by or for government for the wellbeing, care and protection of children and young people are informed by processes which engage children and young people wherever possible as well as take their views into account. This gives them the opportunity to participate in decision making if they wish to and helps to ensure their involvement in each step of their interaction with government and non-government services. Further, it may assist them to own whatever decision is made about their future if they are involved in it.

We all know that the participation of children and young people in decision making is valuable and desirable. Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 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

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