This is an edited version of an article published in News.au on January 20, 2019.
This article was originally published on February 3, 2019, and is now being republished with permission.
This is a rush transcript.
Welcome to the News.
The Morning Report.
This morning, the Government has announced its plans to give Australians a baby name for the first time in 2019.
The announcement came in a statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Social Services Catherine Burney, in which they said they would ensure that every child gets a baby’s name.
The Government said the changes would help families cope with changes in society.
“The Government’s commitment to give every Australian a name that reflects their unique and unique cultural heritage will deliver the greatest chance for every child to grow up to be the most valuable member of their family, the strongest and most compassionate person they can be,” Mr Abbott said in the statement.
“This will help ensure that we all have a meaningful and memorable identity for our children, and for our grandchildren.”
The Government has not yet released any data on how many children would get the name Baby, and the number of boys would remain the same.
A spokesperson for the Minister said that until now, the Federal Government had not released any demographic information about the population of children who would be given their first names, which the Department of Social Services had been obliged to do under federal laws.
“If you are a parent and you are having a conversation with a family member about the possibility of changing their child’s name, we ask that they do so in a private setting,” the spokesperson said.
This week, the Victorian government announced it would give all babies born in 2020 a name, but only for those aged under 15. “
We will continue to make available data that will allow us to make informed decisions about what is best for our families.”
This week, the Victorian government announced it would give all babies born in 2020 a name, but only for those aged under 15.
In Victoria, it is a matter for the parents, with the baby name coming from the baby’s parents.
The NSW Government has also announced a change to the way children’s names are chosen in the state, which will give babies born on or after March 1 a chance to have their name changed.
The decision comes after a survey found that only 6 per cent of children under 18 wanted their parents to choose a name based on their race.
In response, the NSW Government announced it was changing the way the state chooses baby names to reflect the population’s demographics.
“Parents can choose a baby from their list of preferences,” the NSW Premier said.
“As part of the changes, they will be able to choose between ‘Black’, ‘Caucasian’ and ‘Australian-Indian’ for their baby’s first name.”
While this may not seem like much, given that the NSW has only 7 per cent Aboriginal people and 7 per to 10 per cent Indigenous people, the announcement comes amid growing concerns about how the naming of Indigenous children is shaping Australia’s future.
In 2017, the Indigenous Child and Family Agency released a report into the way Indigenous children are being named, which found the names of children from the Northern Territory were often chosen as “others” over those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
This means that many Indigenous children who grow up in Australia are not known by their first name.
One study by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (CASA) found that Indigenous children were less likely to be named in their native language, which means they will not have their own name.
In a letter to the Australian Federal Government, CASA president Peter Robinson wrote that “children in Indigenous communities are still not given the opportunity to have a name which reflects their cultural heritage, including the use of a full name, as a first name, for example.”
He said the lack of Aboriginal-first names on the baby registry and in public education “is the result of the Government’s policies that place a premium on the name of the baby, and not the child’s individual name”.
The Minister for Children, Young People and Families, Michaelia Cash, has said she is not opposed to changing the policy, but has asked the Federal Department of Education to come up with more detailed information on the impact on Indigenous children.
“I would encourage you to do more than just change the language,” Ms Cash said in a media briefing this week.
“Change the name on the child registration form.”
She said that if there is no change to how Indigenous children’s first names are listed on the registry, there will still be an opportunity to change their names on an online form.