MP abusing parliamentary process - PSA
MP abusing parliamentary process
The PSA is appalled at the actions of ACT MP Deborah Coddington in threatening to use parliamentary privilege to name Child, Youth and Family social workers involved in a particular case, especially when she has not got all the facts, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.
“The PSA supports the intention of the Minister of Social Services to block Ms Coddington’s actions. Not only is she unaware of all the facts of this case, she is threatening to use the parliamentary process to name individual social workers who are unable to speak up for themselves.”
“Child, Youth and Family have consistently stated the children are safe and that their safety and wellbeing is the paramount consideration when deciding on their future placement. When making decisions about children in their care, social workers exercise professional judgement based on training and experience. Ms Coddington is not a social worker and should not set herself up as being able to make a better judgement on the safety of the children.”
Richard Wagstaff said politicians, in an effort to score political points, often criticised public servants through the media knowing they cannot respond. Ms Coddington, however, was taking it a step further and resorting to using parliamentary privilege to exploit vulnerable families and public servants to garner publicity.
“Another point Ms Coddington has failed to grasp is that decisions about the care and placement of children are not made by an individual social worker acting alone but rather with the support of colleagues and managers, with the final decision resting with the Court. If social workers feel there is a possibility their names may be mentioned in Parliament this can only have a negative effect on their work as they will be operating in a climate of fear. This is not in the best interests of them or the families with whom they are dealing.”