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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3193 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

was the basic question that came out of a number of forums that we held with young people, and it is a good question. The question that Ms Gallagher has raised today regarding advertising is quite relevant to that question. I think that it would be useful for us to take particular notice of the advertising standards, even though they are a national responsibility, because it is clear that they have an effect on people in the ACT.

I did not quite understand Mr Pratt's criticism of government. I thought he was saying that it had no interest in obesity, but I am sure that he would not have said that. The whole Assembly has clearly indicated an interest in this issue by supporting the referral to the committee of an inquiry into the health of school-age children, which does include preschool-age children. It is pretty obvious that everyone in this place is interested in and concerned about this matter, so I do not think that we need to get political about it. The committee is doing the work and the work is fairly well progressed. I am happy to take on this extra reference. I think it is entirely relevant to do so.

The thing with junk food is that it is not just about television advertising; it is also about its availability. As you are going out of any supermarket you will always find little temptations made available. Those of us who are parents know about the situation at the checkout where you have a child or several children with you who are noticing the wonderful array of sweet stuff that is very well placed to inspire purchases by the mothers or fathers who need a little bit of peace while they are trying to get through the checkout before they go home. There are all sorts of ways other than television that junk food is really pushed on kids and parents.

Ms Dundas' comments about body image are important as well, although not strictly relevant to this motion, as not only advertising but also the media generally and many other societal influences have an extremely serious impact on body image. Self-esteem and body image have to be seen as an extremely important aspect of the health of young people. As we are all well aware, they can bring about a significant illness-in fact, a mental illness-in many young women and an increasing number of young men. I understand that children-not just young men and women, but also children-as young as primary school age are now affected by the idealised thinness phenomenon.

That has been coming across to our committee very strongly from the young people themselves. The question of fitness testing which will come up briefly later with Mr Pratt's motion also has relevance to this subject and the committee has received quite a lot of evidence from young people, rather than adults, about the impacts of this sort of response. I am looking forward to doing this extra work on the committee and hope that the committee will be able to produce a report which will be of use to the government in terms of dealing with the health of school-age children.

MS MacDONALD (10.55): I would like to thank Ms Gallagher for moving this motion. I agree that it is on a very significant issue. We all know that television and advertising have a considerable impact on our lives. The experts differ in their opinions on how persuasive TV advertising is, but we do know that it is significant for both adults and children, having a significant impact on adults, let alone children.

I do remember as a child a ban being placed upon cigarette advertising on television and then later on billboards. First, it was on the TV ads and then on any sponsorship showing up on television or in sports broadcasting. That was done was because we became aware

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