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Labor votes against Children’s Commissioner Bill

The Weatherill Labor Government has voted against the State Liberals’ Children’s Commissioner Bill, which would have provided the Commissioner with full investigative powers. 

“The recent tragedies in our child protection system highlight the importance of having a Commissioner with full investigative powers so that vulnerable children can be better protected in the future,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“As legislators, we need to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to protect our society’s most vulnerable members.

“We have fallen well short of best practice in child protection and the Weatherill Labor Government has added to that failure today by voting against this Bill.

“It is critical that the South Australian Children’s Commissioner has investigative powers so they can move quickly and effectively when major flaws in the child protection system appear.

“The State Liberals’ legislation created a truly independent Commissioner for Children with the power to reach into ministerial offices, Families SA and the wider government bureaucracy to ensure child protection is afforded the highest priority.

“Fortunately today’s setback is not the end of the possibility of the creation of a Commissioner for Children with full investigative powers.

“The State Liberals and cross benchers will amend the Government’s flawed Children’s Commissioner Bill in the Upper House and send it back to the Lower House for another vote.

“Minister Brock and Minister Hamilton-Smith should carefully consider the plea of Chloe Valentine’s grandmother Belinda Valentine when the legislation returns to the Lower House.

“Belinda Valentine is a powerful advocate for a Commissioner with full investigative powers.

“Nor is there any valid reason for them to tie themselves to the Weatherill Government’s failed child protection system.”