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- Start of Business
- PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS
- FEDERAL FINANCIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT (NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK) BILL 2010
- HEALTH INSURANCE (EXTENDED MEDICARE SAFETY NET - MIDWIVES) AMENDMENT DETERMINATION 2010
- CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (CLUSTER MUNITIONS PROHIBITION) BILL 2010
- NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK BILL 2010
- AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PREVENTIVE HEALTH AGENCY BILL 2010
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
- Great Barrier Reef: Project Catalyst
- Ovarian Cancer
- Flinders Electorate: Infrastructure Charge
- Tan Kien Ly
- Minister’s Awards for Excellence for Employers of Australian Apprentices
- Turkey: Republic Day
- Murray-Darling Basin
- Professor Berni Einoder AM
- Kalamunda Schoolies Timor-Leste Project
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- TRAGEDIES IN INDONESIA
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Owens, Julie, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Andrews, Kevin, MP, Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Rowland, Michelle, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Van Manen, Bert, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Jones, Stephen, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(O’Neill, Deborah, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
Carbon Farming Initiative
(D’Ath, Yvette, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
(Bandt, Adam, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Parke, Melissa, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Bishop, Julie, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
Women in the Workplace
(Burke, Anna, MP, Ellis, Kate, MP)
(Briggs, Jamie, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
Freedom of Information
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, O’Connor, Brendan, MP)
(Forrest, John, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Grierson, Sharon, MP, Emerson, Craig, MP)
Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme
(Mirabella, Sophie, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Symon, Mike, MP, Crean, Simon, MP)
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- USE OF MOBILE TELEPHONES
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- AUTONOMOUS SANCTIONS BILL 2010
- VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WEEKLY PAYMENTS) BILL 2010
- THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES NO. 1) BILL 2010
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (FEE-HELP LOAN FEE) BILL 2010
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PREVENTIVE HEALTH AGENCY BILL 2010
- Second Reading
- Consideration in Detail
- Third Reading
- Road Infrastructure
- Ipswich Region Community Church Day of Honour
- Dunkley Electorate: Frankston
- Moreton Electorate: Seniors
- Grey Electorate: Road Conditions on the Birdsville Track
- Makin Electorate: Greek Community
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Canberra Electorate: Telstra Awards
- Start of Business
- Stirling Electorate: Neighbourhood Watch
- Calwell Electorate: Radio 3ZZZ
- Macarthur Electorate: 24-Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur
- Parramatta Electorate: Merrylands Baptist Church
- Grey Electorate: Bedford Industries
- Deakin Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program
- Dunkley Electorate: Small Businesses
- Corio Electorate: Youth Leadership Awards
- Bradfield Electorate: San Run for Life
- Page Electorate
THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES
- VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WEEKLY PAYMENTS) BILL 2010
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Ms O’NEILL (1:29 PM) —In the short time that I have been in this place I have often heard other members say that they are pleased to be able to speak on various pieces of legislation, and I imagine this will generally be the case for me too. But, having reviewed the background to this debate and seen the evidence of aching need for preventive health in our community, I really cannot be pleased about the fact that the Australian National Preventive Health Agency is not already doing the work that it is meant to do.
Today we are revisiting a bill that, as far as I can see, should have been made into law a year ago. We are debating the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2010 one whole year after the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2009 should have been enacted. That is a whole year in which the Australian National Preventive Health Agency could have set its agenda and progressed its preventive health campaigns as a statutory authority. In fact, it is now almost two years since COAG agreed to the establishment of ANPHA. That is a whole year of prevention lost. Had last year’s legislation been passed, ANPHA would already be functioning with its own CEO and advisory council and working to its own strategic plan and operating plan. The agency would already be prosecuting life-altering and, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say, life-saving national health education campaigns on smoking and obesity and supporting the nation’s health ministers in that considerable task.
That the agency is not already in existence to carry on its preventive health work is an indictment of the obstructive culture of the coalition that has flourished under the current Leader of the Opposition. How does delaying the installation of ANPHA ‘hold the government to account’, as the Leader of the Opposition is so fond of saying? This has absolutely nothing to do with holding the government to account and everything to do with holding back the government in its legislative agenda—never mind the social and health costs on the way.
The Leader of the Opposition has shown a callous disregard for the health of Australians who might be spared the burden of chronic disease by the work of the agency in not allowing this legislation to progress through the parliament. By way of preparation for today, I reviewed the Hansard of the debate on the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2009. That debate took place before the current Leader of the Opposition assumed the position. It was encouraging to read a number of wise contributions from both sides in September last year, when the bill was debated in this House. The member for Isaacs pointed out the direct support for ANPHA from organisations such as the Heart Foundation, the Public Health Association of Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The member for Pearce, whom I understand has a longstanding involvement with diabetes treatment and who spoke here again today, gave her total support to the general direction of the previous bill. My Central Coast colleague the member for Dobell, who spoke last year and again today, last year spoke of the productivity lost to our economy due to obesity—an enormous $21 billion in 2005. It seemed like everyone was in heated agreement.
What happened? The legislation reached the other place, where the record shows that opposition senators, for no reason other than political opportunism, consigned the establishment of our first national preventive health agency to legislative purgatory. Twelve months later many of you find yourselves here again with pretty much the same bill. Only the date and the time frame have changed.
As a new member I now have the chance to contribute to the debate, but that is neither here nor there. It is regrettable, even shameful, that the establishment of ANPHA is still a matter for debate. I found the Senate Hansard of 27 and 28 October last year, when the previous bill was debated in that place, particularly disturbing—especially the contributions of Senators Cormann and Birmingham. Did they even address the need for a preventive health agency, as agreed by COAG under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health? No, they did not. Did they address how they themselves would approach alleviating the $6 billion annual cost to our healthcare system of chronic disease or the loss of productivity of approximately $13 billion? No again. In fact, they failed to address any substantive preventive health arguments. Worse, Senator Birmingham spoke of preventive health initiatives as infringing on ‘the way people choose—quite knowingly—to live their lives’. He even said:
… there are limits to how much government should interfere in people’s lives to discourage them from leading unhealthy lives.
The current level of chronic disease in this country is a very serious matter. Frankly, it beggars belief that some of those in the opposition—note that I do not include them all here because I do not believe that there is a total moral vacuum on this issue in the coalition ranks and obviously the bipartisan support for the bill before the House reaffirms that—should be so blase about something like smoking, an addiction that looks set to kill one million Australians over the next decade. Is the death of these people and the suffering of their families really of such little import to the likes of Senator Birmingham? Is the preventable death of one million Australians a toll that is really something to be discounted and dismissed with that kind of misguided libertarian one-liner? Are these people for real?
The facts on smoking are compelling. I direct members to figure 1.1 in the Preventative Health Taskforce’s National Preventative Health Strategy. The strategy reveals clearly that tobacco is the No. 1 risk factor contributing to Australia’s overall burden of disease. The statistic, sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, shows tobacco causing just under eight disability-adjusted life years. In layman’s language that means almost eight years off your life.
Almost 2.9 million Australian adults smoke on a daily basis. Around half of these people who continue to smoke for a prolonged period will die early. Half will die in middle age. The total quantifiable costs of smoking to the economy, including the costs associated with loss of life, are estimated to be over $31 billion. This information is all readily available for all to see in the strategy, yet it seems some in the Liberal Party are in no hurry.
I have a theory on smoking. Shall we say the smoke lifted during the election campaign when the links between the Liberal Party and big tobacco became clear. The Leader of the Opposition tried his hardest to weasel out of the connection and play it down but he was fooling no-one. How do you explain away $2½ million in donations from British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris in the past 10 years?
There was also the attack ad campaign by the so-called Alliance of Australian Retailers against plain packaging for cigarettes. These ads had Liberal Party fingerprints all over them. Those opposite may try to deny it, but we all know that where there is smoke there is not only fire; there is also money for those willing to compromise their principles. I am proud to be in a party that has chosen, as a matter of principle, not to take donations from tobacco companies. I understand that some individuals on the other side may make a stand on principle too. I am sure these donations to the Liberal Party horrify many members of that party. But while the Liberals and the Nationals take big tobacco’s dollar, how can they have any credibility when it comes to the preventive health sphere? I urge those right-thinking members opposite to reform their party so that, like the Labor Party, they take no donations from big tobacco.
When operational, ANPHA will take carriage of national-level social marketing campaigns on critical issues like smoking, obesity and binge drinking. Those of us in this place who care for the health outcomes of our constituents want this agency in place, to roll out consistent, effective social marketing campaigns that will help us in our quest to change risky behaviours. I note the Parliamentary Library’s excellent briefing in the Bills Digest and commentary about social marketing being most effective when integrated with other programs such as information about intervention, counselling and the like. And of course I have a particular interest in education within the school sector.
No-one underestimates the difficulty of what is involved in prevention education, but there are communities out there struggling with destructive cultures, particularly binge drinking. Changing such cultures requires persistence. We have to increase the sense of antithetical attitudes in communities, attitudes which stand in complete opposition to notions of binge drinking being normal Australian behaviour. As the minister has rightly pointed out, any debate about preventive health inevitably turns to disadvantage. So we look to where the worst health outcomes are.
Unsurprisingly the greatest prevalence of risk factors for chronic preventable disease are in the communities of greatest socioeconomic disadvantage. Perhaps that is why the Leader of the Opposition is so disinterested in preventive health, other than his own. The evidence is there for all to see, if they choose to. The National Preventative Health Strategy outlines how being overweight or obese and regular tobacco use are significantly greater among the lowest socioeconomic group of the Australian population. Excess body weight becomes more prevalent among Australians as they drop down the socioeconomic scale. Many factors—inequity in physical and social experiences in early life, access to and quality of education, exposure to marketing, even how cities are planned and designed and transport options—are linked to increased consumption of tobacco, alcohol and energy-dense nutrient-poor foods. And which group bears the greatest burden of chronic preventable disease in our country? Our Indigenous communities. This is, without doubt, our greatest area of need.
Closing the gap in preventive health terms will mean lowering smoking rates from 50 per cent in Aboriginal men to the less than 20 per cent in the rest of the community. I should add that the aim is to get smoking rates down to below 10 per cent. The member for Dobell spoke earlier today about the 1970s and 1980s when Australia had a fantastic international reputation with our Quit smoking campaign, which was emulated in the state of California where they are continuing to advance their efforts through creative ways of engaging the community, acting in their own interests for the best health outcomes.
In the case of alcohol, one in six Indigenous adults reports drinking in such a way as to pose a long-term risk to their health. That figure, sadly, has risen since 2001. In this context, it is unconscionable that this bill be delayed any longer. We on this side of the House have made a record commitment to preventive health. I commend the minister for her efforts. I commend her also for ensuring that obligations under the National Partnership Agreement will still be met despite the opposition’s intransigence.
The Commonwealth is progressing activities that the agency will take carriage of once it is operational. We are steadily moving to deliver better, fairer health outcomes for the Australian people. And the Australian people will hold the opposition accountable for any further obstruction to the rollout of a preventive health agenda. They must not take the wrecking ball to this important piece of legislation. I commend the bill to the House.