Page 1563 - Week 06 - Thursday, 3 May 1990

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Thursday, 3 May 1990


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR STEFANIAK, by leave: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the Assembly that the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs at its meeting on Wednesday, 2 May, resolved to inquire into and report on defamation law. The terms of reference when developed will be advised to the Assembly.

Alteration of Reporting Date

MR WOOD, by leave: I move:

That paragraph (3) of the resolution referring the matter of fluoride in relation to public health to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for consideration and report be amended by omitting "by 31 May 1990" and substituting "by 29 November 1990".

Mr Speaker, I will make some comments about this since I realise that the committee is placing an onus on the Government and this parliament to make a decision one way or the other on the presence or otherwise of fluoride in our drinking water. With that in mind I think I should make some comment on why we have sought a deferral. We always sought to meet the deadline but we recognised that it would be difficult because of the great number of submissions that came in and the great amount of data to be observed. It was always going to be difficult, especially for people like me without a particular scientific background, to get on top of the material.

We had always anticipated that we would have the benefit of the report of a review committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council on the use of fluoride in the water. That council is, I believe, meeting this week. Normally at that meeting it would have taken on board the comments of the review process but it is not doing so because the NHMRC is waiting for an evaluation by the US national toxicology program of its recent study of chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity of sodium fluoride. The NHMRC is waiting for that and, of course, our committee is also waiting for that. We are not sure when that will be

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