Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2044 ..
Mrs Carnell: Somebody with health expertise might have a law degree.
MR CONNOLLY: They may indeed. We will not need to go ahead with that, but we are inclined to support the Greens' amendment. I will come to our amendment in due course.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.23): Mr Speaker, I do not support the amendment moved by Ms Tucker. I accept that she wishes to broaden the range of expertise available on the committee for the purpose of ensuring that a range of viewpoints is put before the committee; but, with respect, if you look at what she is attempting to do, she is attempting to achieve far too fine a result for an instrument which is designed to give the government of the day, admittedly, some flexibility in constructing a board that will be as dynamic as possible. It is not stated in the Bill; but, in effect, these sorts of appointments not only reflect simply an area of expertise, some background in consumer health or environmental health, or whatever it might be, but also reflect a range of general background experience in life which often can be determined only by looking at, talking to and considering the merits of particular individuals when it comes to making an appointment. The more prescriptive we are within this clause about what area of expertise or talent a person has to have, the narrower the field in each case and the more difficult it is to get people whose other general skills are appropriate for this kind of body.
Mr Speaker, I think it is unfortunate that this particular proposal should come forward. Although no-one can argue against having environmental health expertise or community health expertise or whatever on such a committee, you could equally argue that it would be valuable to further define or expand upon the category of sport or recreation to include one person with a background in sport and one with a background in recreation.
Mrs Carnell: Maybe a footballer.
MR HUMPHRIES: You could have a footballer or someone from a women's sport. You could require that there be someone from the performing arts and the visual arts, and, indeed, to follow on from what Mr Connolly said before, someone with a background in law and a background in business, or a background in accountancy, or divide that into more prescriptive separate categories. That seems to me to be not wise, Mr Speaker.
The second point I make about this is that, as members will be well aware, this legislation accompanies a very significant increase, a very large increase, in the amount of money available in the Health Promotion Fund to fund a series of initiatives through this mechanism. Mr Speaker, we are all well aware of the enormous power of this kind of advertising mechanism, as it were, to get messages across. We all believe in that mechanism. We all see advertising at work in our daily lives. We want to harness this energy, this potential, in a positive way for the benefit of the promotion of health. That can come in a number of ways. It can come through direct health messages, if I might put it on that footing - information directly to people about how you should look after your health, how you should actively promote a healthy lifestyle and so on - or it can come through the medium of different forms of occupation or recreation that members of the community engage in, such as involvement in the arts or in sport.