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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1696 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

recommendations of this report. They address the school, culture and environment of students in a way that I believe will develop their emotional intelligence; challenge teachers, staff and parents; and have very positive outcomes for the whole community.

Fundamental to the aspect of Gatehouse of feeling respected and respecting people is the notion of young people being listened to. Young people are thoughtful, intelligent and want to engage in the issues that we are all dealing with as a society. If you respect them and give them the information, they will come up with sensible solutions and suggestions that can teach us a lot. Children can teach us.

I want to finish with a quote from a young person who gave a submission to the committee in response to the contentious issues that people will no doubt want to focus on in this debate. This is the voice of a young person, and it is supported in essence broadly by all the young people we spoke to:

Get rid of the idea of bad things-indeed, bad drugs, bad sex, bad smoking et cetera. Many of us feel that doing something risqué is much more exciting than doing something acceptable, and thus more youths are likely to experiment with the bad things. We are not saying that we should legalise drugs and alcohol. We are just saying that by telling youths that "drugs are bad"and "do not drink"is not as effective as saying, "Make your own choices but know all the risks."This "bad things"attitude also puts parents in the wrong frame of mind and reduces their ability to remain open-minded and their ability to communicate and support their children and, thus, to help them through to the best answer and response.

If people took notice of that, I think they would see the wisdom of it. The ability of parents, teachers and the adult world to communicate and support children is fundamental to the question of the health of school-age children. I commend this report to the Assembly, and I look forward to seeing a positive government response.



: Order! Before I call Ms MacDonald, I wish to inform members of the presence in the gallery of Year 6 students from Red Hill. Welcome.

Health-Standing Committee

Report No 4


(11.45): I also rise to speak about this report Looking at the health of school-age children in the ACT. It is good to be able to welcome such a range of young people into the gallery at this time. This report was written with you people in mind, addressing all of the issues that face you today and in the future.

One of the students who appeared before the committee said:

Children are basically the future, but that also applies to adults, because they are role models for us. I know that, when people eat less food, they have a big impact on their children, because their children think, "I want to grow up like my parents", and so they will eat what their parents eat. With foods, and with cigarettes for adults, the warnings on some packets are actually very small and so they do not

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