April 20, 2014

Introducing this bill will not achieve a healthy end result for the wonderful country we live in

I am making a submission regarding: The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill 2012. I request that this bill not be passed.  I am totally against beneficiary parents being forced to send their child/ren to state-sanctioned early education facilities.

I have been a full-time mother for the past 20 years, since my first child was born.  I have seven children aged between 5 and 20.  All of them, as preschoolers, have been involved in either home-based childcare, playcentre, or kindergarten.  However, this has been at my discretion and according to what would benefit the child at that time.  Some of my children have been very social and not minded being left without me at childcare.  Others prefer the security of having me around.  Forcing them to leave me at that point would stress them needlessly.

I have also homeschooled my children full-time for the past 15 years.  At present I have 2 (going on 3 when my son turns 6) children being homeschooled; 2 at school, and 2 who (after a combination of homeschooling and state schooling) work full-time.  I do not believe there is a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to educating children, but that each child should be educated at each season according to what is best for the child and the parent at that stage.  The government can not determine this on a full-scale individual basis.  As a parent, however, I am fully aware of and committed to the well-being and progress of my children.

My husband has recently, after many years of full-time work, been made redundant.  We are now (hopefully temporarily) on unemployment benefit while he tries to find work.  For a bill to be passed saying that I no longer have the right to keep my pre-school child around me full-time, or to homeschool my children, just because our circumstances have changed, would show major discrimination.  I could go and get paid work, but that would compromise my belief that a mother is an incredibly valuable resource to her children’s well-being when she is able to stay at home full time.

It seems ludicrous that someone else can be paid to look after my children while their children are separated from them for someone else to mind.  I have more commitment to, and love for, my children than anyone else does.  If they have learning needs that I cannot fulfil, it is far better that I retain the ability and choice to refer them to relevant services on a case-by-case basis.  One size does not fit all.

I am extremely disturbed to hear that, if this bill is passed, sanctions will be imposed on families like myself who see the value of their children being nurtured and educated at home from the moment of birth.  Not only sanctions, but CYF would be required to harass our family and cause stress to parents and children alike as they try to enforce our surrender.

Breaking up families and reducing the influence that good people have on their own children is the worst interference that can be implemented by the government.  My children are all honest; hardworking; display consideration of and care for others and are generally an asset to society.  We have not encouraged antisocial behaviours like bullying or teasing, or littering, or vandalism, or so many other unpleasant qualities that are demonstrated by some children.  We have stamped on any signs of these behaviours because we are totally involved in our children’s lives and can see when inappropriate actions begin.  When problems are addressed at the start, they are far less likely to go undetected and escalate into huge destructive and antisocial behaviours.

It is likely that any benefit money supposedly saved by a blanket approach to force children to attend ECE or state schooling, and their full-time care-givers to paid employment, will be more than offset by exponentially ongoing health, social and penal costs to the country in the long term.

Introducing this bill will not achieve a healthy end result for the wonderful country we live in.