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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4304 ..


Yesterday I spoke about the IPCC’s most recent report, which made a very persuasive case in relation to climate change to reduce temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. Children of the ACT—and the whole world—are going to suffer from what we and other jurisdictions are not doing to stop and then reverse climate change over the next few years.

All over the world, children are fighting for their right to a safe environment for their future. In 2015, a group of 21 young Americans decided to sue the US government over climate change. Their case is known as Juliana v US. The young people argued that their government has “violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property” by adopting policies that promote the use of fossil fuel despite the fact that governments know that the overwhelming scientific evidence is that fossil fuel emissions which cause carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global warning.

Young people in Colombia, Belgium, India, Pakistan, Norway and Holland are all suing their governments because their governments have manifestly failed to plan and act for a safe climate in the future for these young people. I can only say that I hope they win, because all children should have the right to a safe environment for their future, now and into the future.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Disability, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Minister for Government Services and Procurement, Minister for Urban Renewal) (3.52): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak today on the importance of upholding the rights of children in the ACT, and I thank Ms Cody for bringing forward this matter of public importance.

This week we celebrate Children’s Week, and, as Ms Cody said, Children’s Week is an opportunity to recognise the achievements of children and young people in our community and continue to raise awareness of the needs and rights of children and young people. Each year, all states and territories celebrate Children’s Day on the fourth Wednesday in October. This day is the central focus of a week of celebration centred around the right of children to enjoy childhood.

The theme for Children’s Week in 2018 is children’s views and opinions are respected, asking us to consider how we ensure that children’s voices and their experiences are heard. It also asks us to consider how children’s views are valued and respected by everyone in our community. I particularly want to acknowledge Ms Cody’s contribution in talking about how the Community Services Directorate across child protection and young justice is ensuring that children’s voices and those of young people are heard and listened to.

ACT Children’s Week was officially launched yesterday with more than 200 people coming together to celebrate children and young people in our community. The Children’s Week awards, which I was very pleased to be able to attend, saw the recognition of remarkable individuals who make a difference to the lives of children


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