James speaks on the LACSC report No. 42 on the Queensland Family and Child Commission

Thursday, 17 October 2019

I rise to make a contribution on the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee’s report No.42, Oversight of the Queensland Family and Child Commission. I acknowledge my fellow committee members: the chair and member for Toohey and the members for Mansfield, Macalister, Lockyer and Mirani. I acknowledge the great work that the committee does. The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee is a very busy committee. I commend our acting committee secretary, Mary Westcott, for the great work that she and her staff do for us.

 As a member of the LNP, I am very proud of the Queensland Family and Child Commission, which was an initiative of the LNP government. It arose from the findings of the Carmody inquiry, the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. When I look through the lines of activity that the commission has, it is apparent that they really do great work. That is obvious even from a cursory look at the sorts of things that they do on a day-to-day basis. The member for Toohey spoke about connecting, reviewing and influencing, which is exactly right. The Growing up in Queensland project is a particularly impressive one. The 7,000 or so young Queenslanders who had an opportunity to participate in that project are a great source of insight into how young people engage and how they see the world. Considering that they are the ones who will be taking over from us sooner or later, I think it is a very good thing.

 Mr Krause interjected.

Mr LISTER: ‘Not too soon’, I hear from my friend the honourable member for Scenic Rim. I am going to try to live forever; I will give it a damn good try.

 The insights that those children and young people provide are very important. It follows that the Youth Advisory Council that the commission hosts has recently had members appointed in the field of child cyberbullying, into which there has been a bipartisan inquiry. It is a matter that concerns all of us in all of our electorates in terms of the omnipresence of social media and the impacts that that has on young people. It is great that the Queensland Family and Child Commission is on the beat to gather information, educate and advocate in that space.

 The Queensland Family and Child Commission is also doing important work in reviewing how things have changed since the Carmody report. It is vital that whenever you embark on a process of reform or some activity, you look back and say, ‘What did we set out to achieve and have we achieved it?’ It is very good to see that that is part of the Queensland Family and Child Commission’s role.

 I refer to the tragic death of Tialeigh Palmer. The work that the Queensland Family and Child Commission is doing in that space is important in informing how we deal with missing children. We never want to see those sorts of things happen again. Commissioner Vardon and her staff are doing excellent work there. I commend the report to the House.