Ruby O’Rourke launches election campaign which places children’s rights at the centre

by Freya Lucas

May 01

Ruby O’Rourke, founder of Healthy Australia, has announced her candidacy for the Division of Macnamara, a newly created division arising in 2018 after the Australian Electoral Commission oversaw a mandatory redistribution of divisions in Victoria. The division is located in the south of Melbourne, around the eastern shores of Port Philip Bay.

 

Ms O’Rourke is known to the early childhood education and care sector for her work with child advocacy, setting up the software company HubHello, the HubWorks! Platform, and children’s charity Healthy Australia, dedicated to improving child health and welfare outcomes.

 

Her campaign platform centres around giving young people a voice in Parliament and systems of Government, believing that they should be considered in every policy decision, and, by doing so, break the cycle of short-term politics.

 

She launched her campaign on Saturday 27 April, beginning a three-week electric bicycle tour of the Macnamara electorate. On the tour, Ms O’Rourke will be speaking to Macnamara residents about putting young people first at the next election, to be held on 18 May.

 

Should her campaign be successful, Ms O’Rourke has pledged to introduce a Young People’s Rights bill, and a Young People’s Impact Statement – a regulatory impact statement to accompany all legislation debated by Parliament.

 

“This election is not just about national issues. Local matters matter. I want Macnamara to be the healthiest community and the safest place to raise a child,” Ms O’Rourke said.

 

Critical to the local issues she spoke about, Ms O’Rourke said, was investment: “Investing in our proudly diverse community – addressing homelessness, investing in our community connections, demanding council continue to provide public childcare, community-grown food, and seriously investing in our local environment.”

 

A spokesperson for the campaign said that Ms O’Rourke’s candidacy is a unique one – she has been open about her past as an adoptee, during which the abuse she endured was so great that she went to court to divorce her adoptive parents at the age of eight and become a ward of the state when she was a child – reportedly the first Australian child to do so.

 

Ms O’Rourke is also said to be the first Australian to run for Parliamentary contention as a former ward of the state. A spokesperson for the campaign attributed the hardship Ms O’Rourke had experienced as the motivation for her “life’s work” in child advocacy.

 

Speaking about her motivations, Ms O’Rourke said her experience of working with the Federal Government for over a decade has informed her belief that the government must be held legally accountable to Australians for its decisions and “negligence.”

 

More information about Ms O’Rourke and her campaign can be found here.

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