Children’s Commissioner

SAASSO Survey 4 - Childrens Commissioner - August 29 2016Update: 29/08/16

In the wake of the Nyland Royal Commission, a Commissioner for Children is back on the State Government’s agenda. However, the Weatherill Government still refuses to give a commissioner investigative powers.

Recently, SAASSO polled parents and school staff on what powers they believe a Children’s Commissioner should have.

The results echoed the opinions of SAASSO, The Law Society, The Australian Medical Association and the State Opposition.

 “Someone needs to protect our children.”




Update: 28/11/14

As the last week of parliament began, both sides of politics considered compromising in order to pass a children’s commissioner bill before the end of the year.

SAASSO wrote a letter to each member of the Legislative Council, reminding them of the need for a commissioner, but urging them not to compromise the powers vital to a genuine advocate for children.

SAASSO Media Report – “No kids commissioner better than ‘toothless tiger’….”



Since 2009, SAASSO has called for an independent watchdog for our state’s education system.

Two thirds of OECD countries have an ombudsman or agency to handle complaints about schools. The State Government, however, has consistently refused to create an Education Ombudsman.

However, following the scandal of the Debelle Royal Commission, and with ongoing crises in Families SA, the Weatherill Government announced it would create a Children’s Commissioner.

South Australia is the only state in the country without a commissioner (there is also a national Children’s Commissioner) and it was concluded we needed one in the Layton Review in 2003.

In 2013, SAASSO, along with the Law Society of South Australia, raised concerns about the lack of independence and investigative powers in the State Government’s plan for a commissioner. SAASSO’s concerns were not included in the revised legislation now before parliament.

In 2014, the State Labor Government has struggled to find support for its idea of a commissioner in the upper house of parliament. A Liberal proposal  – bestowing the commissioner with investigative powers – has passed the upper house, but will fail to pass the lower house without Labor support.

So, as of November 2014, we have two pieces of legislation – the difference, being the investigative role of the commissioner – neither of which can become law without support from the other side of politics. Meanwhile, our children wait….

 “The Law Society was critical, saying that without formal powers to investigate, ‘What is the commissioner really going to do’?”


SAASSO’s Reports


SAASSO Feedback: Child Development Bill 2013

School Post – Term 1, 2014

School Post – Term 4, 2014

SAASSO Feedback - Child Development Bill 25.9.14

SAASSO’s feedback on the State Labor Government’s original 2013 bill.
SAASSO School Post T1 2014 - Childrens Commissioner

A School Post article outlining issues with the proposed legislation.
SAASSO School Post T4 2014 - Childrens Commissioner Update

The School Post article detailing the differences between the Labor and Liberals plans.

The Legislation


Original Labor Bill 2013

Labor Bill 2014

Liberals Bill 2014

Child Commissioner Bill

The bill to which SAASSO provided feedback in 2013.
Child and Wellbeing Bill 2014 un

Labor’s current draft – support in the lower house, but not the upper house.

The Liberal draft, passes the upper house, but unable to pass the Labor-controlled lower house.

Published: 14/11/14