Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2739 with a father figure in your home?; Did you have access to private education?; Did you ever have to worry about your mobile phone being shut off?; Have you ever had to help your mother or father with bills?; Have you ever wondered where your next meal will come from?. In the end the participants are asked to turn around and look at the results. At that point they are reminded that they had no control over any of the statements that were made. They were issues outside their personal control but they all led to a situation that affected their position. This graphic experiment is an accepted metaphor for privilege. It is enlightening in and of itself, particularly how it shows that those who are privileged are often oblivious to the fact. It was also heartbreaking to see the number of people who were left at the starting line. After about a dozen questions, some of them had not taken a single step. They were unable to apply a single statement to themselves. Not all of those statements apply to my children, but I consider my children to be fortunate. They have had a particularly stable upbringing and we try to provide every assistance we can for them. But that is not always the case. At its heart, that is what this policy is about. It is about providing as best we can and having equal footing. I am reminded of former Prime Minister Bob Hawkes infamous 1987 pledge that by 1990 no Australian child would be living in poverty. It was a slip of the tongue, I understand, but it was a noble ambition. It was an intention that by 1990 no Australian child should be living in poverty. That would be really great if we could achieve that. It comes down to money. We need to do our best with what we have to provide for those less well off than we are. We recognise that we cannot fix every problem but the clear intention of the ministers statement is that the government is committed to doing what it can to address some of these inequities and is committed to ensuring our children have the best start we can provide for them. There is bit of levity there. The Member for Stuart has just walked back in and I am reminded of his contribution as well. This plan will take more than money; it will take guts. I completely agree with that. I firmly believe the minister is the right person to be driving this plan. I have no doubt that she has the guts necessary to follow through with this plan. I grew up in a different area to the Member for Stuart. In spite of it being in suburban Sydney, it did have a rural feel to it, but I am sure it was not the same rural feel that the Member for Stuarts area was. I am left with the overwhelming image of the Member for Stuart as Ozzy Osborne, I had budgies. I never ate them. But he explained the issue with the budgies to me afterwards. I think he would make a good Ozzy Osborne, to be honest, but I will leave it at that. Talking about regional and remote inequality, the Families as First Teachers program is something we really need to keep promoting. I have been fortunate in my electorate. It is not regional or remote, but we have had a Families as First Teachers program set up in Ludmilla School to assist the children, particularly from the Bagot Community, and it is working a treat. It is really going well. I can see the benefit of those sorts of programs. They are the things that this government is committed to maintaining and promoting. In the end, they are the sorts of things we need to promote for early childhood development. There are no low hanging fruit. That is why the plans are for the next 10 years and not the next six months, not the last three months, not even the last election. These issues are far too important. It is an enormous task and finding even part of the solution will be difficult. It may well take a number of attempts. The issues are multifaceted and multidisciplinary, interdepartmental and complex. In spite of those inherent difficulties, this is what governments are elected forto take on and hopefully tackle the difficult social and community problems. I have no doubt the minister is the right person for that job. I look forward to seeing what further developments come about. In the meantime, I commend the statement to the House. Ms MANISON (Treasurer): I would like to thank the members who have contributed to this important debate about the future of our children, which will lead to better outcomes for the Northern Territory. Our 10-year Early Childhood Development Plan is about ensuring every child in the Northern Territory gets the best possible start to life. There is stark evidence that investing in children means they will have a better future. If you work with families from when a child is born to when that child starts school and you make the
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