Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994
Parliamentary Record 6
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 have never had any trouble with that because, when my children were little, I looked after them. I turned on the taps or the shower for them, and I stayed with them whilst they had their shower or played in the bath. I did not let them do it themselves. I was probably overprotective, but I had spent 9 months growing each o f those children and I looked after them. The minister mentioned briefly the thoughtlessness o f adults. 1 repeat that it is not thoughtless adults who cause these problems. The problems are caused by criminally negligent parents. The minister referred to dog attacks resulting in injury to children. 1 know quite a deal about that. Unfortunately, you cannot simply blame the dogs or their owners. This brings us back to the human element in these matters. I know that little children are attacked, and that is very sad. In those cases, it is the parents who must bear responsibility for the incident just as the parents have to bear responsibility for injuries inflicted on their children by other animals such as snakes and jellyfish. However, the minister says nothing more about parental responsibility. I would like to hear the minister make a statement pointing out to parents the responsibilities involved in having children because you do not simply bring them into the world and hope that the government will look after them. That is not the way it works. We want children to be part o f a family. The family is the strongest unit in the country because states and countries are built on families. For a family to stay together, it has to be a caring family whose members look after each others welfare. While the minister and his government are interfering constantly in the raising o f children, the parents will not accept their responsibility for them. They will simply go out willy-nilly and continue breeding. I use the term breeding advisedly because I know for a fact that there are many young women in the community who are gainfully employed doing that kind o f thing. They receive generous grants from the government to breed and they continue breeding. I would go even further because I am a woman. Probably, the minister cannot say it because he is a man, but these women make it their lifes work to gestate these foetuses for the state to look after. These children are brought into the world simply as a means o f obtaining an income. Single mothers continue to have children. They do not worry about having the father o f the child look after it. They simply continue to have children, and the federal government kindly looks after them. However, it is not actually the government that looks after them. It is the other people in the community, who look after their own children, who have to bear also the cost o f support and caring for the children o f others. M r FINCH (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, I thank the minister for a statement that is provoking considerable debate, as it was intended to do. The minister outlined a broad range o f programs and issues. For that, he is to be commended rather than denigrated as the member for Nelson would have. Quite frankly, if someone wrote about all o f the dangers to children and responsibilities o f parenthood, their work would provide a set o f encyclopaedias longer than the row o f Parliamentary Records sitting in front o f you, M r Speaker. Whilst I sympathise with some o f the arguments made by the member for Nelson in relation to the responsibility of parenthood, it is a fact o f life that not all parents are responsible people and the question then arises as to whether the children should be left to suffer the consequences o f their parents neglect. However, something that has always 1811
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