Fired-up Labor has ScoMo in its sights
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is among seven senior Government MPs who Labor will target for allegedly misleading Parliament by pledging support for dumped leader Malcolm Turnbull, when Parliament resumes tomorrow.
Labor was expected to vote with Greens MP Adam Bandt in a motion of no-confidence against Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton over accusations he misled Parliament in the foreign nanny scandal.
But the Opposition is now expected to cause further chaos, with Tony Burke, Labor’s chief strategist in the House of Representatives, confirming Labor will expand its attack to every frontbench MP who backed Mr Turnbull in Parliament, 48 hours before he was dumped as PM.
“This is the first time I can remember that there are potentially seven ministers who may have misled Parliament,” Mr Burke said.
“Scott Morrison declared support for the Prime Minister and it has to be asked whether or not he misled the Parliament now there has been a series of claims that he had been active all along.”
The leadership scandal and bullying claims are set to dominate the sitting week after fresh allegations emerged about the standover tactics employed by some conservative MPs as they tried to build numbers for Mr Dutton ahead of his failed coup. ALMOST half of at-risk children living in homes run by the State Government don’t need to be there and should be placed with families, an audit has found.
But a shortage of willing foster carers means there are not enough ready homes.
The audit – done between April and June – found that, of 453 children living in state-run homes, 240 were in the right place because they needed specialist care for disabilities, trauma, or complex behaviours or needs.
But 213, or 47 per cent, were identified as children who did not need the supervision of trained, paid carers and would be better off living with a foster family.
The Child Protection Department has struggled in recent years to encourage more extended family members or generous strangers to take in vulnerable children.
This means it is forced to pay more than $670,000 a year to house a child in a state-run home, compared with $48,000 to a foster family.
Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson promised the audit ahead of the March state election.
“Often the excuse is given that children are in residential care because their behaviours are so difficult that they can’t be placed with families,” she told The Advertiser shortly after becoming a minister.
“That’s true for some children but I don’t believe that (about 450) children could possibly all need to be in residential care.”
She has acknowledged that many carers have felt let down by the department, raising concerns about “a lack of respect, the way they’re treated (and) a lack of information about the child in their care”.
Revealing the results of the audit, Ms Sanderson said living with foster parents “gives the child a sense of family”.
Department chief executive Cathy Taylor said the government was conducting research and working on “awareness campaigns, improving relationships with our current foster parents, and removing red tape so foster parents can get on with the day-to-day care of our children”.
“We know it is important to match children to a placement that best meets their individual needs,” she said.
Rachel Titley has previously been a foster carer and encouraged others to consider taking a child into their home.
The 38-year-old, who has two biological daughters, said the opportunity for children to live with a family where they feel they belong “heals the brain damage from abuse, trauma and neglect and enables kids to thrive, get an education and journey through life”.
“When you take somebody in as part of your family you’re much more invested in that child,” she said.
“There’s a level of love and care that is just not there when it comes to shift workers that have a heap of duties to do.”
There are currently 3672 children in state care, including 412 living in state-run homes, 86 in emergency housing, 1664 with extended family and 1434 with foster parents.
LOVING ENVIRONMENT: Rachel Titley says giving children the opportunity to live with a family can help them heal.