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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2993 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

The report, I think, is self-righteous and assumes a high moral ground. Some 11 of the recommendations interfere with private life without asking permission to do so. In fact, parental involvement is mentioned once in 48 recommendations.

I appreciate that these days parental responsibility is almost an oxymoron. It is neither sought nor encouraged. Indeed, one could wonder why the committee did not just recommend taking children at birth and bringing them up like the Spartans used to-let the state control them. However, it did not do so.

Those are my criticisms. I wish, however, to end on a more positive note and identify a couple of matters that I do commend. The first matter concerns recommendations 8 and 27, which relate to nutrition. Although I think this subject could be regarded as a little outside the terms of reference, I commend these two recommendations because-and obviously the committee thinks this as well-I have long believed that the behaviour of some children is a direct result of their diet, what they eat. It is very difficult to identify, on occasions, just what in a diet is perhaps causing problems among children. Where do you start?

We know that children should not eat red jellybeans or something like that because they make them hyperactive. But this is at the periphery of the problems, Mr Speaker. I do not know how we can necessarily investigate thoroughly the problems of nutrition in so far as what children should not eat, but I think we have got to make some sort of start. I believe that a lot of the problems that children face-problems even into adulthood-could be overcome if their diet was improved and if they avoided eating certain identified foods. We all know of people who cannot eat certain things. But, I repeat: this is only at the periphery of this issue. I think it is a much bigger problem than we realise and we would save a lot of pain and expense if we devoted more time to identifying dietary problems.

I also commend recommendation No 43 in relation to carers-people who I think are very often undervalued in this society. I was interested to find in recommendation 44 reference to Gatehouse project. I support the project, although I must say that, from my reading of it, it seems to me to be what the country used to have before the progressives took over and created the new society, the shambles of which they are now seeking to correct in respect of our young people. Nevertheless, I repeat that overall I am disappointed with most of this report.

MS DUNDAS (10.50): I rise to add my support to the report of the Health Committee on the health of school-age children in the ACT. It is a comprehensive report that covers a whole range of aspects affecting the health of young people in our community. I am disappointed that this debate has gone on over a number of weeks. However, it is interesting to go back over what was said earlier in the debate and what was said by Mr Cornwell today because he seems to have completely missed the point of what the report of the Health Committee is trying to achieve.

Mr Cornwell talked about the report being a blueprint for a brave new world. He said that parents drive their children to school because they do not want them walking around our community where there are nasty people. If we give in to that attitude, if we give in to the fact that there are nasty people out there and do not try and make this situation

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