The Australian government is furious at the behavior of welfare parents who refuse to ensure their children will attend school. It is determined to enforce new regulations which wll punish parents who are unwilling or unable to make certain kids are in school. Jenny Macklin, Minister of Families, stated bluntly: “We are saying to parents you have a responsibility to make sure your children attend school regularly.” The government is also considering a new plan which would, in effect, close down many rural areas and force people to move into new locations.
The idea that a government could withdraw welfare payments to parents because of the behavior of children is outrageous. A visit to any program dealing with adolescents on drugs reveals they come from all social economic levels, and being unable to control children is not merely a problem for welfare parents, it is for all those with children in their homes. The issue is not parents, it belongs to schools. The responsibility of schools is ensuring they offer programs which intellectually and emotionally engage children. Parents can help, but if they will not, the school must assume the task.