Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

Other title

Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 able to face facts. However, in this case, he did not. He skirted around the real issue at stake here and he simply gave us the icing on the cake without referring to the cake itself. The title o f his statement is Child Safety in the Northern Territory when, if the minister had been really honest, he would have called it Parental Responsibility in the Northern Territory. Because o f the way the minister presented his statement, there was an implication that children simply happen - that they can be found under cabbages, that the stork brings them or that they simply fall out o f the sky. Perhaps people simply look up to heaven and the good Lord sends the child down. The idea seems to be that everybody has these children, but they do not have do anything for them or accept any responsibility for them. I believe that was implied in the ministers statement. However, as you well know, Mr Speaker, the facts are entirely different. The ministers statement pointed out the criminal negligence o f many parents, but he did not say that. I believe he was not confronting the issue and that he neglected the safety o f children in the Northern Territory by not saying anything about the bad parents who cause all the trouble, injury and deaths among their children. Children are not born without parents. The process always involves a him and a her, a mummy and a daddy, even when the daddy shoots through and only the mummy is left. A male and a female parent are necessary to bring children into the world. If 2 people have brought a child into the world, they have to accept responsibility for that. They made that life. However, our society seems to be assuming increasingly that all responsibility for children lies with the government. The minister and the government are taking the responsibility from parents and placing it on their own shoulders. That is okay if that is as far as it goes. However, it costs money for the government to take up all these matters and it creates more responsibility for people in the community who do not have children, who do not want children and who do not like children. More importantly, it is putting on the shoulders o f parents who do look after their children the responsibility that rightly should rest with parents who do not look after their children. The whole matter o f how people look after their children needs to be addressed. Many honourable members have several children. It amazes me that many women spend 9 months growing a child and, after it is born, they do not really give a damn about its welfare. If they grew a plant in a pot, they would spend more time caring for it than they would in looking after their children. Half facetiously, I suggest that, in respect o f the negligent parents who cast responsibility for their children on to the community, the government may have to consider introducing a licensing system for making babies. I do not suggest a licensing system for having fun. That is a different matter. If they are going to have babies, such people should obtain a licence for it. Mr Finch: They will need a learners permit first. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: They could obtain a learners permit. In an informal conversation with me earlier, the member for Braitling suggested that would-be parents perhaps should be required to take an IQ test before they obtain their learners permit or their licence to have babies. As I said, the minister made a nice statement, but it did not address the real problem - that is, the negligent parents. Some parents are criminally negligent and often 1808