Children, parents and families form the bedrock social unit in
Australian life but have been unrepresented in public affairs for as long as any of us can remember.
Discussion about family well-being and decisions by governments that affect family life are usually restricted to politicians, academics and service providers. Most of us are excluded. As a result, we have seen a huge push over the last three decades to increase the workforce participation of parents and increase the time spent by children in formal care, even though this is not what most of us want. Most of us would prefer a more relaxed, unhurried domestic life which allows our kids a more relaxed and unhurried childhood.
There is now widespread anxiety about the pressures on children from social media, schools, employers and popular culture, and concern that most of us are poorly prepared for our parenting roles. We lack the extended family supports and guidance that was available for previous generations.
The key problem has been the lack of an authentic representative voice for parents, families and carers . Often the only voice claiming to speak for families is the conservative Christian lobby, but it does not represent the diversity of contemporary Australian families. The only other voice heard is from academics and service providers – they do most of the talking about us but not necessarily for us.
Until we have an independent representative political voice of parents and families, our concerns will not be heard at a time when anxiety about children and their development is higher than ever before, and families are under more strain than ever before.
The Children and Families Division of The Sensible Centre has one goal – to involve tens of thousands of people across our continent in electing a bloc of MPs to parliaments and councils who will speak about the critical importance of supporting families as the primary relational unit in society.
To achieve this goal, we will create a political movement of parents and families, positioned in the Sensible Centre of Australian life. We will:
1. Develop a movement capable of electing its selected candidates to parliaments and councils across Australia;
2. Develop a policy agenda to drive the movement;
3. Participate in national public discussion to promote and build support for the movement;
4. Build the leadership and organisational capacity of participants; and
5. Develop IT, business and social media tools to assist the movement achieve its goals.
To Express your Interest in participating in the Division, go to this form.
For a full outline of this place of Divisions in The Sensible Centre, see our Two Year Plan here.