Our statement on the Voice to Parliament referendum: Children have the right to a Voice

For over 40 years, SHINE for Kids has worked with children, young people and their families to strengthen connection to community and family through education, support and mentoring to help them thrive.

In 1990, Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement that was supposed to transform the lives of all children.

Most children and young people in Australia grow up in a safe, healthy, and positive environment. However, in every Australian community, children have the least power to assert their rights.

SHINE for Kids identified that the Convention was particularly relevant to children impacted by parental incarceration. These rights underpin all our work with children.

Research shows that around 40,000 children in Australia are impacted by parental incarceration. A concerning number of these children have worse education and health outcomes than their peers. We have an obligation to close this gap.

First Nations children are disproportionately impacted by parental incarceration. First Nations children are more likely to lack adequate human rights protections.

This year’s referendum is an opportunity for national leadership and coordination on child rights issues through constitutional recognition and the Voice to Parliament.

The Voice will be led by First Nations communities, informed by culture and include children and young people. It will advance a child rights approach to policy decision making that is decades overdue.

Having a voice is a human right.

SHINE for Kids is committed to contributing to Australia’s reconciliation journey and will continue listening and learning to deepen our understanding.

We support changing the Constitution and establishing the Voice.


Endorsed by the Board of SHINE for Kids

Our statement on the Voice to Parliament referendum: Children have the right to a Voice

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