His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia
‘Children should be seen and not heard’, how often have we heard these words? Yet we don’t really pause to think about what they mean, about the impact they may have.
For all of us, children represent hope and the future, how we care for, respect and nurture our children that will determine our prosperity and happiness. It makes sense that we should actively encourage the views of children, listen to their ideas, and value their insights.
The theme for this year’s Children’s Week has been nominated as Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that ‘Children’s views and opinions are respected. They have the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child and the right to be heard.’
So this year, as we continue the journey of rearing confident, happy and safe children we resolve to listen to our children, to take heed of what they have to say and their perspective on the world. This will be good for children; it will be good for all of us.
I thank the Children’s Week Council of Australia for all it does in the name of our children and for Children’s Week around Australia.
Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner
As the National Children’s Commissioner, I am passionate about children’s rights and I am especially pleased that the theme of this year’s Children’s Week is the right of children to speak and be heard.
This right to be heard is enshrined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This article gives every child the right to be taken seriously and be heard in matters affecting them. It recognises that the right of children to have their views respected is a gateway to all other rights and the key to their active citizenship.
Hearing from children is not only empowering for them, it helps adults to get things right. Every day, policies, programs and laws are being shaped that impact directly or indirectly on children. They are the consumers, the clients and recipients of so much of what we do. Ignoring the experiences and views of children, who are, after all, the experts in their own lives, will invariably lead to interventions that just don’t work for them.
Privileging the voice of children, really listening to what they have to say and taking it on board is also a powerful message to children about their value. To fully realise children’s rights we need active and systematic consideration of the interests of children and young people across Australia in the development of our laws, policies and practices. But most importantly, we need to listen. And when we listen we learn.
Ambassador for Children’s Week WA
Fairy Queen Caroline
I am so proud to act as Ambassador for Western Australia’s Children’s Week and to be able to spread the message of celebration along with my fairy dust to the many children I meet in the community.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child points to each child’s right to play as an integral part of their education. In today’s world of hectic schedules, economic stress and deadlines, children can be swept along in an adult world without having time to play. Fantasy and imaginative play, role play, discovery play, games and sport are all essential learning experiences that nurture and enable a child to grow to reach their full potential.
During Children’s Week let us remind ourselves of the value of play and the importance of allowing children to be children. By taking time and allowing ourselves to play with our children we can acknowledge their world and can re-emerge from it having thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
I hope that children and families from all over Western Australia join me at Whiteman Park on Sunday 21 October for the Official Children’s Week Opening event Go for 2 & 5 Family Fun Day activities. Bring your friends and come along, there’s fun for everyone – lots to see and things to do, in celebration of you!