Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:42:02): When you are ready.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Ms Franks has the floor.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Thank you, Mr President. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council in that role, and also in his role representing the Premier in this place, about the Weatherill government's promises and priorities given to the debate of legislation to effect those promises that were made in the 2014 state election, namely the pledge to create a children's commissioner.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: To our shame, South Australia is currently the only mainland state in Australia not to have a children's commissioner; that is despite it being first recommended by the Layton Report in 2003. This sad state of affairs is not for want of trying by non-government parliamentarians.

A private member's bill to establish a children's commissioner passed in this council in August 2014 with the sponsorship of the opposition and supported by the crossbenches. It was later defeated by the government's numbers in the other place some two months afterwards in October 2014—a curious position given the Labor Party's election platform document, 'Let's keep building South Australia', which states on page 73 under the heading 'Commissioner for Children and Young People':

Labor will establish a Commissioner for Children and Young People to be an accessible and effective advocate to champion the rights of children and young people around South Australia.

Yet, I note that this election promise seems to have fallen into the realm of non-core promises, as in the statement made infamously by a former PM.

Government members in the other place failed to even offer amendments to that bill to reflect their own preferred model, simply voting it down. Since then, the Weatherill government's own bill for a children's commissioner has seemingly also fallen into a category not just of being a non-core promise but systematically non-prioritised.

In 15 priority letters in the 2015 sitting calendar received by us by the Leader of Government Business, the children's commissioner bill, known as the Child Development and Welfare Bill, only twice featured as in any way a government priority and none of those times as proceeding to a third vote. In fact, since April 2015 in this place that bill for a children's commissioner has not once been in the government's priority letter—not a single time since April last year.

It came as no surprise to me then, last week, to receive your priority letter as the new Leader of Government Business in this place and notice that of the 13 current pieces of legislation that have been prioritised with this government ,the child commissioner's bill does not feature. My question to the minister is: when will the Weatherill government prioritise progress on their own bill for a children's commissioner in this place?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (15:45:05): I thank the honourable member for her question. This is not my portfolio area, but I will refer it to the Minister for Education and Child Development in the other place and bring back a reply about the bill's progress and where this matter is up to.

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