Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 23 June 2005) . . Page.. 2272 ..
I had the pleasure this morning, along with my colleague Mr Mulcahy, of attending a presentation by the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council of South Australia Inc. Along with the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Mr Scott Wilson, the state director of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council of South Australia, they launched a pack of playing cards as part of the Indigenous Australians Day of Drug Action Week 2005. Very briefly, funding from the Australian government allowed the Drug and Alcohol Council of South Australia to develop a set of playing cards featuring culturally appropriate health promotion messages which address alcohol and other drug issues in indigenous communities.
Indeed, I think praise has to be given, too, to Mr Steve Vaughan, director of the law enforcement, indigenous and work force drug strategy branch, the MC at the event this morning. It was very cold. I think some 40 or so people turned out for it. It is certainly something that we will take on in our indigenous communities. I just wanted to give praise and credit where it was due. Well done.
Another thing I would like to make mention of, to praise and to join with the ACT government on, is the dads in distress group. I seem to remember being shot down in this place when I mentioned the very thought of addressing men’s issues. “Being shadow minister for women, why would I be doing that?” some would ask. To me, it seemed quite realistic and reasonable. But obviously it seems now that somebody has decided there is merit in talking about the balance of men and women. I think it is really important that we continue to refocus on the role of men, particularly fathers, because therefore we will then be able to better address the needs of women.
The Liberal opposition fully supports such a group and, in unison with the government, welcomes the group and would hope that it will provide a genuine support service to men who, at a point in life when they are faced with a relationship breakdown, know that there is someone to turn to for support to deal with separation and trauma. Mr Hargreaves in an article in the Chronicle recently said:
It is great to now see the support being extended to men in the ACT who have experienced the pain that comes from relationship breakdown.
Again I think it is really important that we have groups such as this in our city and continue to recognise the value of women’s organisations, but I do applaud the government sincerely on their effort. I am very pleased to see more of a balance being maintained. I reiterate, as I said at the beginning: as we continue to refocus on the role of men, particularly fathers, we will then be able to better address the needs of women. I will continue to focus on this; I will continue to say that we have to have a balance here because the needs of women are extremely important, but not forgetting the needs of men.
Red nose day
MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (4.27): I would like to bring to the attention of members that tomorrow, Friday, 24 June 2005, is red nose day. I would like to read a little bit from the “Be a hero for red nose day” brochure that they have put out. It is the best summary of what SIDS and Kids does. The brochure reads: