Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Media Release

Government deliberately tries to shield new children’s commissioner from RTI scrutiny

Rebecca White MP Labor Leader

• Government tries to protect new children’s commissioner from RTI scrutiny
• Can the Premier honestly claim this is a coincidence?
• Government interfering with independence of the role

The Government is deliberately trying to protect the new Commissioner for Children and Young People from scrutiny under Right to Information.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said it was no coincidence that a day after the appointment of the new Commissioner, the Government tried to amend the RTI Act.

“The Government is conveniently attempting to exempt this position from Right to Information when it has never been excluded before, “ Ms White said.

“Can the Premier honestly claim this is a coincidence or is this a deliberate attempt to shield the Government from further scrutiny?

“We know that in July last year, the former Commissioner for Children and Young People Mark Morrissey wrote to the Government asking it to consider including the position in the RTI Act.

“Why did it take the Government 16 months to act?

“We can only assume it is because the person appointed to this new role happens to be the Deputy Premier’s former Chief of Staff.

“The Government has interfered and removed the fundamental need for the Commissioner’s role to be entirely independent from government and free from political interference.”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Geoff Holloway

    November 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Also, there may be very good reasons for exempting the Office of the Children’s Commissioner from RTI provisions. I can see the rationale for this provision. The Commissioner needs to be independent, and a secure place for children and young people to know they have the confidence of the Commissioner; the Commissioner must not only be independent but be seen to be independent. What the Labor Party is doing here is just another part of its strategy to unseat the Liberal Government – people who blindly go along with it are simply pawns in the game. I am sure that the highly qualified legal staff in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner would have considered this proposal carefully, and well before it was submitted to Parliament.

  2. Geoff Holloway

    November 22, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Since 2001 (?) there have been 9 Childrens’ Commissioners in Tasmania, including 3 Acting Commissioners.

    Many of them have been dogged by controversy, which in a coupe of cases has been of their own making, but also from state governments (Liberal, and Labor/Greens) and from senior management in the Department of Health and Human Services, all of which have included persistent resistance to cooperate with what the Office of the Children’s Commissioner is supposed to be about, that is, standing up for the rights of children and young people as specified in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (and other UN Conventions).

    There are 3 basic problems: (1) the Children’s Commissioner not only has to be independent but also be seen to be independent, (2) the office of the Children’s Commissioner needs sufficient resources to be able to take on the massive task of looking after the rights and wellbeing issues of children and young people in Tasmania, (3) unhindered cooperation from all government departments in supplying information and data to the office of the Children’s Commissioner.

    I make no comment on the appointment of the new Children’s Commissioner – but I wish her well.

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