Linda Savage


Linda has a BA (Hons) in Political Science and a Law degree from Cambridge University. She has previously been the Director of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and a member of WA State Parliament. Linda is currently Convenor of the Valuing Children Initiative.


With the wealth of evidence about what makes for a safe and supportive childhood,¹ and the unprecedented focus on children today, what accounts for the gap between what we know, what we do, and the lives that some children in Australia endure?

In answering this, adaptive leadership theory urges us to ‘get on the balcony’ to get a clearer perspective, look for new ways of achieving goals and to challenge our deeply held beliefs.²

The Valuing Children Initiative (VCI) is doing this by considering deeper issues of causality, and questioning our very attitudes to children and how we value them. The fact is, how we value children directly impacts on how we treat them, and the priority we give their needs and rights.³

In retrospect, it is glaringly obvious that the failure to value children enabled perpetrators and institutions to avoid scrutiny for decades, as evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shown.⁴

Asking questions about how we value children today is far more confronting. Understanding the impact of conscious and unconscious attitudes to children is critical to effective advocacy and policy development, and so requires far greater attention.

¹ Outcome 1
²Heifetz, R. A. et al (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

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