Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3342 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
Children and young people have ideas and opinions on what directly affects them, and this is definitely borne out by the evidence the committee heard through conversations with young people. We heard that they felt marginalised, unable to participate and persecuted. While these were negative attitudes that were being directed to children and young people we also wanted to learn how to overcome these prejudices to help other members of the community not feel frightened by young people. They want to learn about their rights, they want to learn how they can participate in our community and in the decision-making processes, but they don't want to be preached to, they don't want to feel spoken down to.
I hope this report serves to address some of those concerns and provides us with the impetus to make this a reality for children and young people, to allow them to be heard, to allow them to participate. This report must be seen as a step towards removing prejudice and discrimination and a step towards empowering and supporting such a vibrant and vital part of our community. If we do not value and support children and young people, why should they value and listen to us?
MR CORNWELL (11.27): As members would be aware, I have a differing view on one aspect of this report and I have set out my reasons at pages 134, 135, 136. I wish to make it quite clear, however, that I am only opposed to one recommendation of the 41, and I am only opposed to certain aspects of one chapter, namely chapter 10. The rest of the report, along with the other members of the committee, I endorse wholeheartedly. In chapters 1 to 9, this is a good report, it is an important report, it is a serious report.
I can only echo the comments of the chairman, Mr Hargreaves, in hoping that the government will address the matters that have been raised in relation to a number of government authorities-judiciary, health-because we need to address these problems in relation to some children and young people. That is the basis of my differing view, because I do not believe that we should be addressing or concerning ourselves-in fact, I'll go one step further and say interfere-in the life, the lifestyles, of the majority of children and young people in this territory.
Mr Hargreaves and Ms Dundas have highlighted some of the problems that we have discovered in the course of this detailed and quite lengthy inquiry. I believe that they in fact are endorsing the differing view that I am putting forward, because the problems that we have identified are such that I believe they need to be addressed without the distraction of looking at the rest of the young people and children of the community in this sitting.
I have said in my differing view there has been no demand for us to come forward and investigate those other children and young people. My concern is that we may be distracted from the important issues raised in this report if we are going to start inquiring, entering the lounge rooms of the city and other areas.
I am particularly concerned at a reference made at dot points 10.39 and 10.40, at the top of page 132, to promote the participation of children and young people in the development of laws, policies and practices that have the potential to impact on them through a range of measures including the educational system. I don't know exactly what that dot point means but I am very fearful about what it could be made to mean by