30 YEARS ON FROM BOB HAWKE’S “NO CHILD WILL LIVE IN POVERTY” STATEMENT
Tonight Fr Frank Brennan, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, will join with other leaders in the social services sector for a vigil on the lawns in front of Parliament House to remind our elected representatives that they can, and should do more, to rescue Australian children from the grip of poverty.
“It is a national shame that after 25 years of economic growth, we have not been able to ensure our most precious national resource, our children, are given the best possible start in life,” Fr Frank Brennan said.
“I am concerned not only that the rate of child poverty is increasing but that our Australian society is becoming a less caring. Last year, there were 225,487 children suspected of being harmed or at risk of harm from abuse and or neglect.
“While Bob Hawke was lambasted for having such lofty ideals 30 years ago, it was at least a statement that was powerful and valuable. It sparked debate and told Australians, and the world, that child poverty was not acceptable and that we were going to try to fix it.
“We now live in a society where many of our elected representatives want to blame people for being poor and vulnerable, and want to punish them.
“When questioned by ACOSS prior to the last federal election, all the major parties said they wanted to reduce child poverty and to give every child the greatest possible chance in life to succeed, and not live in poverty.
“Our quiet vigil tonight when our Federal politicians are packing up and leaving Canberra for six weeks, will act as a gentle reminder to them that as a nation we have failed to deliver for children and that we need to renew our commitment to reducing child poverty,“ Fr Brennan said.
The Freedom from Poverty Vigil will take place at the top of Federation Mall at 5pm
Media contact: Lil Bryant-Johnson. Ph 0450 30 20 20