by Gabrielle Walsh – News Weekly, May 6, 2017
Quick, kids, wake up and exercise your “responsible agency”.
Victoria’s Doctors in Secondary Schools (DiSS) program is undermining the rights and responsibilities of parents to care for their children’s health.
The ALP Government of Daniel Andrews is in the process of implementing the DiSS program, which by the end of term 1, 2018, will involve 100 Victorian secondary colleges. These schools fall predominantly into disadvantaged and struggling regional areas.
The Government plans to spend $43.8 million on the program, of which $18 million is being spent on the construction of examination rooms at schools and $25.8 million on staffing. This initial outlay was announced in the 2016 state budget. The DiSS program places an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.
The program also raises serious questions about parents’ rights to supervise the health care of their children. According to the “Parent and Carer Fact Sheet” put out by the Department of Education and Training (DET), the student can be considered a “mature minor” and seek medical help without parental involvement. It explains that mature minors are young people under the age of 18 “who are deemed capable of seeking and obtaining health care for their particular issue”.
This means that a child as young as 12 can seek medical assessment and treatment without parental knowledge or involvement.