Green Party Children’s Issues Spokesperson Sue Bradford today called on all political parties to endorse the plea from the Every Child Counts coalition for the establishment of a cross party parliamentary caucus for children.
“This would be a long overdue acknowledgement that the wellbeing of children should come first in all parliamentary considerations,” Ms Bradford says.
“As families all over the country celebrate National Children’s Day, I think the most appropriate thing politicians could do would be to commit to participating in such a cross party caucus to be established after the 2008 general election.
“The Green Party, like most other parties, is part of the Cross Party Working Group on Family Violence, which was set up in the wake of the tragic deaths of the Kahui twins. Unfortunately this group does not have the endorsement of all parties in the House, nor does it attempt to deal with all issues of particular relevance to children.
“That the vast majority of MPs voted last year for my private member's bill to end the legalised violence against children allowed by s59 of the Crimes Act is an example of the extent to which the needs of young people can be put before ideological or vote catching considerations.
“Similarly, my bill aimed at extending the time mothers can keep their babies with them in prison has so far received unanimous support from all parties in the House, a most unusual situation, and again indicative of what can happen when MPs put the needs of babies and children first.
“I look forward to seeing children’s issues given the priority they deserve by all parties and I sincerely hope that the Every Child Counts initiative will be supported across the political spectrum.”