Changes to the powers and functions of the Guardian

Pam Simmons Guardian
In late 2009 the Children’s Protection Amendment Bill passed both Houses of Parliament. Most of the attention leading up to this had understandably been on the extension of child safety practices to a wider range of organisations.

Also in the amendment bill, prepared as part of the government’s response to the Mullighan Inquiry Report recommendations, were changes to the powers and functions of the Guardian. Among other things, the amendments expressly recognise the independence of the Guardian, require the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee, strengthen the Guardian’s powers to obtain and use information and create offences for obstructing or providing false or misleading information.

Everyone we have worked with over the past five years has cooperated fully and willingly, and backed the independence of the Guardian’s position. I anticipate that the new powers and penalties established in the amendments will be invoked only in exceptional circumstances and that the current spirit of open collaboration will be our predominant way of working.

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