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Committee on the Rights of the Child reviews the report of Australia

Committee on the Rights of the Child

10 September 2019

Committee Experts Raise the Situation of Migrant Children as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in Dialogue with Australia

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Australia on how it implements the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Committee Experts raised the situation of migrant children as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and also expressed concern about the age of criminal responsibility.

Committee Experts asked what policies were in place to address the challenge of the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in judicial proceedings.  Violence against children was an issue in the country, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were disproportionately affected by this phenomenon.  They noted that there was a marked difference between birth registration rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the general population. 

Andrew Walter, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department, said Australia was deeply committed to upholding the realization of the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children both domestically and abroad.  Australia was a nation with a rich culture and a diverse community.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continued to make a unique and vital contribution to the national identity and spirit.  For all its efforts and gains, the Government recognized that there was still much work to be done. Australia was facing complex challenges in serving their diverse and dispersed nation.  These challenges prevented some of their young citizens from fully realizing their rights.

Clarence Nelson, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia said that it was concerning that issues that had been raised in previous concluding observations had not been addressed.  There was little point in having this dialogue every seven years if the same issues were discussed every time.  In that regard, he asked if the age of criminal responsibility had been raised.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Nelson, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said it had been a useful dialogue.  There had been positive developments.  The Committee hoped they would continue and that the concluding observations would provide the State party with momentum and leverage to continue its progress.

Mr. Walter said he really appreciated the way in which the Committee had engaged with the various issues.  He thanked the Experts, civil society and the members of the delegation.

Luis Ernesto Perdernera Reyna, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its availability to engage in a dialogue.  Australia faced considerable challenges, but the Committee would stand to assist it.  The Committee was sending its best wishes to the children of Australia, he concluded.

The delegation of Australia consisted of representatives of the Attorney-General’s Department, the Department of Social Service, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Defence, the Royal Australian Navy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public this afternoon at 3 p.m. to consider the combined fifth to sixth periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CRC/C/BIH/5-6). 

Report

The Committee has before it the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Australia under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/AUS/5-6).

Presentation of the Report

ANDREW WALTER, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australian Attorney-General’s Department, said Australia was deeply committed to upholding the realisation of the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children both domestically and abroad.  Australia was a nation with a rich culture and a diverse community.  Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders continued to make a unique and vital contribution to the national identity and spirit.  Australia was also a migrant nation.  Almost one in three Australians was born overseas and many more were first- or second-generation Australians. Australia celebrated this diversity as one of its greatest assets.  Since its last appearance before this Committee in 2012, Australia had undertaken significant reforms to improve the safety and wellbeing of children.  Two Royal Commissions had been established in 2013 and 2016, which brought to light significant failures by institutions to discharge their responsibility to provide a safe environment to some of the most vulnerable children.  

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had published its final report in December 2017.  Since then, all Australian governments and a number of non-governmental organizations had provided formal responses, outlining the actions they would take to address the Royal Commission’s recommendations, and had committed to reporting on implementation annually until 2022.  The Government had established the National Office for Child Safety, which reported directly to the Prime Minister of Australia.  The National Office was leading the development and implementation of a number of national initiatives recommended by the Royal Commission.  On 22 October 2018, the Prime Minister had delivered a national apology to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The Prime Minister had acknowledged the terrible betrayal of trust that these children had experienced and the trauma and hurt that had resulted. 

The Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was established in 2016 following media reports of mistreatment of children in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.  On 17 November 2017, the Royal Commission had released its final report.  The report made 227 recommendations, outlining a long-term reform agenda to the Northern Territory’s child protection and youth justice systems.  The Government of the Northern Territory had accepted the intent and direction of all 227 recommendations.

Australia now had a National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission, its national human rights institution.  In 2019, the Australian Government had established a new Minister for Youth and Sport in the Health portfolio; re-appointed an Assistant Minister for Children and Families in the Families and Community Services portfolio; and earmarked $461 million for a national strategy to prevent suicide and promote the mental wellbeing of young people.  Listening to young people’s views was a crucial part of improving youth services.  The Youth National Reference Group and the Youth Health Forum provided platforms for young Australian leaders to advocate for their needs, promote mental health awareness, and work with the Government to develop appropriate policies and programmes.

There had been some significant achievements in the area of children’s rights since Australia had last appeared before this Committee.  But for all its efforts and gains, the Government recognized that there was still much work to be done.  Australia was facing complex challenges in serving its diverse and dispersed nation.  These challenges prevented some of its young citizens from fully realizing their rights.

Questions by the Committee Experts

Clarence NELSON, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said a recent poll conducted in Australia had identified three main issues: safety; access to a proper home and being cared for; and having access to a clean environment.  The Government’s lack of focus on renewable energy had led children to hold protests and skip school to urge action.  While the Government had called this “activism” the science was on the children’s side.

It was concerning that issues that had been raised in previous concluding observations had not been addressed.  There was little point in having this dialogue every seven years if the same issues were discussed every time.  The Committee would identify six priority issues that would require the Government’s urgent attention.

When would Australia remove the reservation to the Convention’s article on the need to separate children from adults in detention?  The Committee reiterated its concern about the practice that was being followed in Australia in that regard.  

He asked for more information about the examination of the compatibility of legislation and human rights undertaken by a parliamentary commission.  How did the process work, exactly?  Was there any training on children’s’ rights given to parliamentarians or officers involved?  How much more difficult would it be to conduct a child’s rights impact assessment?

Data had a vital importance.  Did it cover all the areas of the Convention?  It was of limited use if it was not disaggregated.  Did it cover vulnerable groups?  At what level and to which extent was it shared?

On the National Children’s Commissioner, he said there was no doubting its usefulness, but sought to find out if the Government was making use of its potential.

He requested information about the National Office for Child Safety, notably on its mission and funding.  Did the Government have a national plan for all rights falling under the Convention?  What was, specifically, the mandate of the Assistant Minister for Children and Families?

In the thirtieth year of the Convention, had there been any efforts made to publicize and reinforce it and its protocols? 

He sought clarifications on the Government’s response to the following issues.  Regarding the age of criminal responsibility, had it been raised?  Had measures been taken to eliminate marriages of 16 to 18 year-olds?  He requested information on the application of the principle of the best interest of the child, notably in the areas of migration and asylum.  

On the national injury strategy, how far along had it progressed?  He enquired about efforts made to conduct research into the causes of deaths in the country.  
Turning to the respect of the views of the child, the Co-Rapporteur said that family legislation should be amended to take into consideration the views of children.  Regarding the application of the legislation on migration, how were the views of children taken into account?

Cephas LUMINA, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, asked if the Government had any plans to have regular benefits analysis, to assess the extent to which children from different socio-economic groups benefited from the Government’s social spending.

He asked if there was any plan to ask companies that operated abroad to report on their activities.  

What policies were in place to address the challenge of the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in judicial proceedings.  How was the Government tackling discrimination?

Violence against children was an issue in the country, and Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders were disproportionately affected by this phenomenon.  What measures were in place to address the situation of children under the age of 12?

Were there plans to adopt legislation banning the use of corporal punishment.  If so, what was the associated timeline?  Were there any child-specific therapeutic interventions for children who were victims of domestic violence?  What measures were in place to ensure the bodily integrity of intersex children and provide their family with proper support?

Olga a. KHAZOVA, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said there was a marked difference between birth registration rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the general population.  Could the Government consider abolishing the fees and penalties related to birth registration?

The Co-Rapporteur requested more information about the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, which had been amended to provide for the cessation of Australian citizenship of individuals who engaged in or were convicted of certain foreign fighting or terrorism related conduct.  She expressed concern about the impact on children’s rights.

How did the Government ensure that children living in remote areas or children with disabilities were able to voice their opinions?  How could children in indigenous communities obtain adequate information in their languages?

She asked how the Government made sure that children knew how to stay safe online.  Did the school curricula have components on Internet safety?

Replies by the Delegation

ANDREW WALTER, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department, said the Government did not intend to remove its reservation to article 37c.  The issue was that the Government was not trying to meet the obligations of the article; it recognized the need to separate adults and children.  However, at times, there was a need to keep adults and children in the same facility.

Under the federal Government, the states and territories had the primary responsibility to deal with matters related to the Convention.  A number of them had enacted children’s rights charters.  The Federal Government played a coordination role and the National Children’s Commissioner attested to its leadership.

Delegates explained that the National Office for Child Safety had been established on 1 July 2018, with the goal to develop policy to notably prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in Australia.  This mission had been developed following the publication of the final recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  It worked with various governmental bodies as well as non-governmental organizations and oversaw the design and implementation of a national policy on child sexual abuse.  It was working with states and territories on a national information sharing scheme.

The National Office for Child Safety had been provided with establishment resourcing.  It now had 18 staff members.  As it developed work on a broader scale, it would revisit its resourcing.

On data, Australia was supported by sophisticated data agencies and was committed to collecting data on children across a wide range of indicators to identify opportunities for early and effective interventions.  Data was not collected for data collection’s sake, but rather to improve policy-making.  Significant work had been carried out on data disaggregation to identify vulnerable cohorts of children.  On data on violence against children, in December 2018, the Government had decided to fund the first national child maltreatment study, which would be the most comprehensive study of its kind internationally and would examine various kinds of abuse and domestic violence.  It would study the impact of abuse over the course of children’s lives, including on suicide attempts.  The goal was to obtain information on not only maltreatment, but also the co-occurrence of maltreatment practices in the country.  The Government was bound by privacy related obligations, which were taken into consideration when deciding what data was made public and how.

The Government had a few data sources it relied on.  The Australian Development Census, for instance, was conducted every three years on the risk of development issues amongst children; it took into consideration their socio-economic status.  There was also the Footprints in Time longitudinal study on indigenous children, which had begun in 2008 and looked at children’s physical and mental health.  It also collected quantitative data on matters such as the child’s aspirations and values.  It focused on two groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were aged 6 to 18 months and 3 and a half to 5 years when the study began in 2008.  The study took into account disabilities and socio-economic status.  The Children’s Headline Indicators was another example.  It looked at indicators particularly relevant to children’s health, development and wellbeing.  The disaggregated data from this study was made available on a case by case basis with the agreement of the states and territories.

Turning to the National Injury Strategy, delegates explained that it aimed to reduce death and hospitalization as well as consequences such as physical impairments.  An online consultation would be held, and the strategy should be finalized by June 2020.  It would include persons with disabilities as a priority group.

Delegates said that 503 million dollars had been allocated in the last budget to expand mental health services for young people, strengthen indigenous suicide prevention, and provide early childhood and parenting support.  The Government had also provided 125 million dollars over the next 10 years to support research on suicide prevention, including a project that would look at culturally-safe intervention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
On funding for kids’ helplines, delegates explained that the Government funded a range of support services to provide children with various options in addition to the helpline, such as the Youth Beyond Blue website which provided information on dealing with depression and anxiety.

Regarding the best interest of the child in the context of asylum-seeking and immigration, delegates said the Government developed policies and procedures that took it into account.  Not all officials had the required knowledge on children’s needs and acted accordingly.  The Government, under the family reunification programme, acknowledged the importance of family and reuniting refugees and people who were in refugee-like situation overseas.  Split family provisions were designed to assist the reunification of families that had been separated while fleeing persecution.  The special humanitarian programme allowed people who faced human rights violations and persecution in their country and who had a connection to Australia to resettle there permanently.

On heeding the views of children, delegates said that minors may be interviewed by assessing officers to determine whether applicants met the criteria for a given visa programme.  An independent observer could assist unaccompanied minors who were applying for a visa.  Interpreters also played an important role in ensuring clear communications between minors and assessing officers.  Officers were required to exercise special care and ensure that minors understood the process and the questions.  They took various factors into account in assessing the credibility of a minor’s application.  They were also required to be mindful of minors’ vulnerabilities and to interview them sensibly.

The Australian school curricula included human rights, in early childhood education; primary school, where government and laws’ impact on human rights was discussed; and in secondary years, where pupils could conduct in-depth studies on issues related to human rights, including as part of their history classes.

As it believed that parenting skills were not innate, the Government had developed a set of communication tools to build awareness amongst professionals about effective messages on parenting.  The Government sought to equip professionals to better work with parents to improve their parenting skills.  A website was also created to promote lifelong strategies and skills related to parenting.

States and territories had taken steps to help indigenous families register children at birth, in some cases providing them with free registration services and having officers travel to communities to conduct the registration.  Telephone services had been set up, and liaison offices created in hospitals, to foster birth registration.

On the collection of data, changes had been made recently to data sets on children to improve data collection for children with disabilities, aiming to improve their access to services, as well as for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children, to ensure they had the support that they needed to connect to their culture, community and country.

The age of marriage was 18; it was possible for a child between the age of 16 and 18 to petition a court to obtain the right to marry.  There was very little evidence of female genital mutilation being performed in Australia.  However, more studies were required on this matter and that was why the Australian Institute on Health and Welfare had published a report on this issue, according to which 53,000 women had been subjected to this practice.  The Government continue to pursue work in that area.

Second Round of Questions by Committee Experts

OLGA A. KHAZOVA, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said the child removal situation was getting worse.  Were there any inquiries on this matter?  Had there been any studies on child removal?  She requested information and sought the delegation’s opinion about the removal of children whose parents were disabled; the possibility for children in out-of-home care to stay in contact with their parents; mothers refraining from reporting domestic abuse for fear of child removal; and reports alleging an increase in child abuse in out-of-home care institutions.

She requested information about children with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 18, as the information provided by the State party only concerned children aged 0 to 14.  How was the Government defining disabilities?  What criteria did it use?  Why was forced sterilization of some children practiced?  On suicide, had the Government considered conducting a study that would look at a possible correlation between psychostimulant drugs and suicide rates.

FAITH MARSHALL-HARRIS, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, on indigenous children’s access to education, asked if indigenous children were taught in their language; if they should be bilingual; and how their culture was reflected in the education system.  Was it true that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children were bullied and often dropped out of school?  If so, what was being done to address this situation?  Was the percentage of children who had access to education the same for the overall and indigenous populations?

If the Australian Government did not endorse corporal punishment, why did it hesitate to explicitly ban it by law?  There were reports that it was being used in private schools.  Were children with disabilities given access to education and were the obstacles impeding such an access addressed?

She requested information on measures taken to address obesity amongst children, as well as cyber-bullying.  Indigenous children were overrepresented in the juvenile justice system.  Had this issue been addressed?  Had research been conducted into it?

CLARENCE NELSON, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said it was absurd to say that climate change was not linked to children’s rights.  Climate change would impact various rights of children.  What progress had been made towards the goals of the Paris Climate Change agreement in Australia?  How were children involved in the design of climate-change policy?  The Committee had heard from the children of the country, and they had several questions about this matter.

He requested information on the whereabouts of the children who had been held in Manus and Nauru and on their situation.  What did the Government intend to do with them? 

He asked about efforts to prevent child prostitution and child pornography and to tackle increasing sexual exploitation online, a phenomenon that was now seen all over the world.  He requested information about measures taken to prevent the sale of and access to firearms to children as well as the sale of arms to countries that recruited children in their armed forces.
Second Round of Replies by the Delegation

The delegation explained that the Government funded research on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  It was estimated that 181,000 children and adolescents suffered from it.  Prevalence estimates varied greatly domestically and internationally, however.  There were more boys than girls who were diagnosed.  No biological tests were conducted for this kind of behaviour.  Parents were encouraged to address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms through positive parenting strategies.  When this did not work, doctors did move to prescribing medication.  On attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs’ relation to suicidal thoughts, the Government was monitoring the scientific literature carefully.

The Government was working to reduce childhood obesity through a range of measures and programmes, such as the Get Set 4 Life guide, which provided information to parents on how to help their children set healthy habits.  The Girls Make your Move campaign aimed to inspire girls to be more active.  There was also the National School Canteen Guidelines, which fostered healthy eating.  The rate of obesity amongst indigenous children aged 2 to 14 was higher than in the overall population.  To address this issue, there were medical outreach services and nutrition training programmes in place.  The Government had also committed 13 million Australian dollars to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sports activities.

The Government had a young ambassadors programme with a 2 million Australian dollar budget and provided 1 million Australian dollars to the Youth Health Forum and other programmes that helped children to target better mental health care services and reached out to children in remote areas.

A “closing the gap” target had been established to reduce the infant mortality rate amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but much remained to be done.  A strategy had been adopted to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies were a healthy weight when they were born.  Programmes were in place to provide their families with support such as information on breastfeeding.  As a result, there had been increases in the weight of babies at birth, reduced rates of anaemia in children, and lower smoking rates among pregnant mothers, as well as a greater number of health checks undergone by them.

The education attendance rate for indigenous people had not improved between 2014 and 2018.  A joint council had been established on closing the gap.  It was comprised of representatives of indigenous communities and ministers, inter alia, and it was the first body of its kind to include members from outside the government as equal partners.  This was an historic step.  The Council would review the strategy on closing the gap in education.

On indigenous languages and curricula, the Government had developed an approach to support the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and allowed the development of curricula at the regional level, within a consistent national framework.  To complement nationally-developed measures, states and territories had also devised policies to foster the teaching of indigenous languages and cultures.  

Turning to disability and child protection issues, delegates remarked that information about the number of children who had disabilities was collected.  In 2015, there were about 421,000 children with disabilities aged 0-18 in Australia.  

The Government ran homelessness services and had created programmes to get young people and children out of homelessness, through measures such as facilitating family reconciliation, when possible.

In reviewing the National Disability Strategy, the Government drew from biannual reports on the progress achieved and areas that required additional efforts.  It also consulted with persons with disabilities and their families.

The delegation said that family and domestic violence disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  To address this issue, the Government had partnered with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner to elevate the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, and develop measures with whole families to reduce the impact of family violence.

The Government was aware and concerned about the increased number of children in the State child protection system.  When a child was removed from their family, every effort was made to reunite them with their family at the appropriate time.  All Governments in Australia had agreed to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions related to child protection.  All assistance possible was provided to families so that children did not have to be removed.

On children in Nauru, delegates said that between January 2018 and January 2019, 124 children had been transferred to Australia from Nauru.  Also, a total of 619 people, including 36 minors, had been resettled in the United States.  American officials were regularly conducting interviews and assessments related to potential resettlements in the United States.  Australia was continuing to explore further third-country resettlement opportunities.  The children who had been resettled to Australia had access to health care services comparable to those provided by the Australian public health care system.  The Government assisted parents in securing access to primary and secondary schools for their children.

ANDREW WALTER, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australian Attorney-General’s Department, said that the Council of Australian Governments had created a working group tasked with considering raising the age of criminal responsibility.  This working group would produce a report by November 2019. Without speculating on the work of the Working Group and the decision of the Council, it should be noted that, if the Council decided to recommend raising the age of criminal responsibility, each state and territory would have to adopt legislation to enact that change.  Legislation would have to be adopted at the Commonwealth of Australia level as well, to amend Commonwealth criminal offences laws.

There were a few State initiatives that were promising.  For instance, in Victoria, since 2018, an intensive bail programme had been put in place.  It required that they report more regularly and complied with education-, training-, or work-related requirements lest their bail be revoked.  Youth justice had put in place reforms in New South Wales to reduce avoidable remands such a Bail Assistance Line.

One of the key principles in Australian youth justice was that young people should be placed in detention only as a last resort.  Alternatives to detention included participation rehabilitation programmes and home detention.  They were aimed at preventing the further involvement of the youths in the juvenile justice system.

Questions by Committee Experts

OLGA A. KHAZOVA, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Co-Rapporteur for Australia, asked for further information on access to doctors for children in remote areas, and on rules for adoption and surrogacy.

CEPHAS LUMINA, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, asked about measuring the benefits and impact of the resources it allocated, including children’s participation in budget elaboration processes and surgical intervention on intersex children, which many international bodies, including this Committee, considered harmful.

Other Experts asked for information on measures to address teenage pregnancy, sterilization of girls who had a disability without their consent, and on the link between poverty and the withdrawal of children

CLARENCE NELSON, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, asked what the Government was doing to prevent that children find themselves in a situation where they had to be sent urgently to Australia from Nauru to obtain care.

OLGA A. KHAZOVA, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Co-Rapporteur for Australia, asked about inclusive education for children with disabilities.

Responses by the Delegation

ANDREW WALTER, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department, said the Government addressed climate change-related issues in a variety of fora, including the upcoming Climate Action Summit set to start on 23 September in New York.  The Government supported the rights of all people, including children, to peaceful assembly and their freedom of association.  At the same time, the Government was committed to promote school attendance for all children to ensure they did not fall behind.
Delegates explained that the Government would not grant permission to export arms when there were reasons to believe that they would be diverted from their authorized use and be deployed in armed conflicts involving children.  Measures could be taken to address situations where after an authorization had been granted the arms were diverted from authorized use.

In 2019, Australia had been at the forefront of an international initiative, along with Mexico, on countering child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse online at the twenty-eighth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
A person who did not have a visa had to be detained under the law in Australia.  A risk-based approach was used to determine how and where such a person would be detained.  The Government had made significant inroads in reducing the number of children in detention.  Many of them had been detained briefly.  The vast majority of them lived in community arrangements.  The Government was considering the interest of children when making decisions that concerned them or decisions about members of their families that could affect them.  Children were detained for the shortest practicable time.

In Australia, school-based sex education was provided to enable young people to make responsible and safe choices.  Children from Year 3 to Year 10 had to learn age-appropriate content about matters such as reproduction, contraception, consent, changing identities, and the celebration of and respect for differences and diversity.

On poverty and removal of children, a delegate remarked that children in Australia were not removed from their parents due to poverty.  Poverty could, however, increase the likelihood that children would be removed.  The Government addressed poverty through various actions such as paying 18 billion Australian dollars through the family tax benefit scheme, which helped families with the costs of raising children.

The National Office for Child Safety consulted with civil society and other governmental bodies, carrying out “co-design” work.  It identified where the gaps lay.  Overtime, there would be opportunities to revise its budget.  While children were not involved in the budget elaboration process per se, there were opportunities for their involvement in the development of policies prior to the adoption of the budget.

The Government had a “Bullying, No Way” website which had resources for various stakeholders.

Concluding Remarks

CLARENCE NELSON, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Australia, said it had been a useful dialogue.  There had been positive developments.  The Committee hoped they would continue and that the concluding observations would provide the State party with momentum and leverage to continue its progress.

ANDREW WALTER, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity and Security Division, Australian Attorney-General’s Department, said he really appreciated the way in which the Committee had engaged with the delegation on the various issues.  He thanked the Experts, civil society and members of the delegation.

LUIS ERNESTO PERDERNERA REYNA, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its availability to engage in a dialogue.  The Committee respected what the State party did.  Australia faced considerable challenges, but the Committee would stand to assist it.  The Committee Chair sent his best wishes to the children of Australia.

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For use of the information media; not an official record
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