Thursday, 30 October 2014
Day for Daniel
Tomorrow across Australia we should all be thinking about Daniel Morcombe. Tomorrow is Day for Daniel, a national day of action to raise awareness of child safety protection and harm prevention. This year, its 10th anniversary year, the focus is on online safety.
We all know Daniel's story and that his parents are determined that no other family will have to endure what they have been through, so on this day we honour the memory of Daniel and acknowledge the Morcombes' effort to keep other children safe from harm. Everyone is encouraged to wear red and educate to raise awareness, promote a safer community, educate children and empower them to recognise, react and report. By recognising, children are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings; reacting gives them choices to keep themselves safe, such as running away; and reporting means telling an adult why they felt unsafe and establishing a safety network.
In 2011, Daniel's parents, Denise and Bruce, were engaged by the Queensland government as child safety ambassadors. Since then, they have established a child safety program currently offered in schools in both Queensland and Victoria. The program focuses on teaching children about personal safety and awareness, including cyber and phone safety.
In July this year, Denise and Bruce visited federal parliament to speak with members of parliament from across Australia on the importance of having the program recognised in the national curriculum. They believe it is vital for all children, teachers and parents to have access to this information. I was very pleased to have that opportunity to talk with them in person and lend my support to their plans. I am delighted that the program has since been backed by the Minister for Education and recommended for the national curriculum. This guarantees children will be taught how to deal with uncomfortable or unsafe situations, and encourages them to speak up about such issues.
The Morcombes have visited a number of schools in my electorate of Ryan, and indeed more than 300 schools and 100 community events in Queensland, to share their message of child protection. The foundation not only raises awareness of child safety but also provides free safety and education material to schools and families. The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has also been instrumental in bringing legislation for Daniel's law to the Northern Territory. When passed, they will become the first jurisdiction in the country to introduce a publicly accessible website which will include an image, physical description and regional whereabouts of convicted serious sex offenders living there.
Denise and Bruce Morcombe are truly an inspiring couple. They have been tireless in their dedication to child safety and awareness in our country. I, and I know all of Australia, cannot praise them enough for their perseverance and commitment to keep Daniel's memory alive and future generations of our children safe. Day for Daniel is an important day for all of Australia as we wear red and educate in his memory.