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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 May 1993) . . Page.. 1493 ..


Water Fluoridation

MR STEVENSON: My question is addressed to the Health Minister, Mr Berry. Recently the residents of the Upper Blue Mountains had a referendum on fluoride. I ask the Health Minister whether he is prepared to allow the people of Canberra the right to have a say via referendum as to whether or not they have fluoride in their water supply, and perhaps no later than the 1995 ACT election.

Ms Follett: The member for the Blue Mountains.

MR BERRY: Yes, the member for the Blue Mountains, the member for Chinchilla, the member representing the Logos Foundation, white Aryan supremacists, and so the list goes on. Who are the mob that bury their guns in the mountains? What is their name?

The National Health and Medical Research Council has made its position clear in relation to fluoride. This Government has always supported the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council and we will continue to do so. They are the premier body in Australia in relation to these sorts of recommendations, and I am sure that Mr Stevenson and the people of the ACT support this Government's continuing recognition of those recommendations. I would not be pursuing a referendum on that score. It is entirely proper that a close examination of the provision of fluoride in our water supplies be conducted by a national body such as the National Health and Medical Research Council. Someone of my age only has to examine his own teeth in the mirror and have a look at his kids'. His kids, who have been on fluoride since they were born, have great teeth.

MR STEVENSON: I ask a supplementary question, Madam Speaker. Some 80 per cent of children around the world have better teeth, and less than 4 per cent of them receive artificial fluoride. I ask the Minister for not giving the people a say whether or not his rejection of a referendum has to do with the fact that the residents of the Upper Blue Mountains, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Gosford all voted resoundingly no.

MR BERRY: Madam Speaker, they were probably subjected to a campaign by a snake oil salesperson like Dennis Stevenson. My view is that they have - - -

Mr Stevenson: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I have sold a lot of things in my time, but I do not recall ever selling snake oil. Perhaps the Minister could pick something that is relevant, so I raise a point of order on relevancy.

MADAM SPEAKER: I call Mr Berry.

MR BERRY: Madam Speaker, this issue is long dead in this Assembly, and I do not think we need to try to resurrect it. Clearly, water fluoridation is supported throughout the community and it is supported by the scientific community. What the people in those places that Mr Stevenson mentioned were subjected to is something I am not aware of.

Mr Stevenson: It was a campaign of truth.


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