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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 700..


International Day of Happiness

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (6.30): I rise to bring to the attention of members that today is International Day of Happiness. As somebody pointed out in the party room today, we should all be happy. But there is a deeper meaning to it, because the General Assembly of the United Nations passed the following motion:

Recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the life of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives,

Recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all people,

Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness.

It is more the wellbeing that appeals to me in this statement. It is quite clear that there is a movement beyond just the raw numbers and the Treasury budgetary side of things when you get particularly some of the larger corporations—banks and the like—who now have, rather than economic indexes, wellbeing indexes.

The Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, went on to say:

... the world needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define global happiness.

The meeting was convened at the initiative of Bhutan, a country which has recognised the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and has famously adopted the goal of gross national happiness over gross national product. The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March International Day of Happiness:

recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

I think it is something that we should keep in mind. The Secretary-General continued:

The twin concepts of happiness and well-being increasingly feature in international discussions of sustainable development and the future we want.

Many countries are going beyond the rhetoric of quality of life to incorporate practical measures to promote these concepts in their legislation and policy making. These good practices can inspire other countries so that the measuring and accounting for broader well-being and not simply national income, becomes a universal practice.

That is something perhaps we as a jurisdiction may consider.


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