Megan Mitchell slated to give a “full and frank” report at upcoming ARACY Summit
Outgoing National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell will pull no punches when she speaks at the upcoming National Early Years Summit, an ARACY spokesperson indicated, saying she will deliver a keynote address outlining how Australia’s children are faring, what is working and what is not.
Ms Mitchell will “give a full and frank report” based on her experiences as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner, having secured the role in 2013. Having served two full terms, Ms Mitchell will step down effective 24 March 2020.
“While most children in Australia are doing well, there is always more for us all to do,” Commissioner Mitchell said. “We know that despite their best efforts too many families are struggling because there are not enough jobs, or because of illness, or more recently, because of drought and bushfires. As a society we need to recognise these families, and especially their children, are not to blame. We need to put ourselves in their shoes. We need to recognise that they are human beings with rights who need our help.”
In an indication of the essence of her keynote, Ms Mitchell said “our government and non-government sectors are not doing this well enough. As the outgoing National Children’s Commissioner I look forward to being able to report on my observations without fear or favour.”
During Ms Mitchell’s term, Australia has faced many high-profile instances showing that the needs and rights of young people have not been protected. These include Royal Commissions in relation to institutional sexual abuse, and disability services, the plight of refugee children in Australia’s detention centres, and the fact that Australia has amongst the lowest age of criminality in the world.
While it has been a great privilege to work with and on behalf of young Australians in this unique role, Ms Mitchell said, she is “struck by the fact we have to do more to help our youngest Australians realise their potential right now and into the future. That’s why I’m looking forward to the Summit and being able to help set the scene for the work it will set out to do.”
The National Early Years Summit will be held in Melbourne on 11-12 March 2020. It will feature more than 60 Thought Leaders and Panellists to help guide the work of delegates. It is being hosted by ARACY with partners the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Goodstart Early Learning, the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI), Children’s Healthcare Australasia (CHA), and Families Australia. Registrations can be completed here.