Tuesday, 10 May 2022

It is my great pleasure to welcome students, and members of the education community, to Government House.

We have gathered this morning to launch the Child Development Council’s Charter Ambassador program, and to celebrate the children and young people who have generously volunteered to be Ambassadors.

In 2019, our state became the first place in Australia to formally legislate an outcomes framework for children and young people, and it was from this framework that the Children’s Charter was born.

The Charter comes at a time when children and young people around the world have been raising their voices like never before, driven by pressing issues such as climate change.

In my former life as a diplomat, and as an ambassador, I had the opportunity to live in and visit many countries around the world, getting to know their cultures and systems of education.

I saw that the strongest democracies are the ones in which citizens – including young people – are invested in exercising the rights and responsibilities that come with it.

As Governor, education and civics is one of my priorities.

I want to support children and young people to use their voice and have a say in what matters to them.  That’s fundamental to a well-functioning and resilient democracy.

To the children and young people here today:

You may have a better quality of life in some ways than your grandparents, or even your parents, had at the same age.

You have access to better devices like smart phones, for example!

And yet, you face a range of challenges that older generations did not – a global pandemic and the complexities that come with rapidly changes in technology, living in a cyber-enabled world, the nature of work, and more.

With all of this change, adults need your help to understand how you are feeling, how you would like your world to be, and how we can work with you to create it.

I thank you all sincerely for volunteering to be Ambassadors of the Children’s Charter.

At its core, the Charter says that children and young people should be safe, happy and well and that you all have a democratic right to be involved in decisions that affect you.

I look forward to learning more about all the ways you will share the Charter and its message with your school communities, and beyond.

I thank the Children’s Development Council for creating the Charter Program, as part of its work monitoring and reporting on the outcomes of South Australia’s children and young people in the areas of health, safety, wellbeing, education and citizenship.

As a former ambassador and your Governor, it will be my pleasure to present the Ambassador certificates shortly.

May they inspire you all to be vocal and lifelong advocates for and active participants in, our democracy.