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Wednesday, 3 May 1939
Page: 79

Mr Curtin n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Did the Prime Minister tender any advice to tlie British Prime Minister as to the advisability or otherwise of an agreement being entered into with Russia?

Mr Menzies - The Commonwealth Government was kept fully informed of the negotiations taking place between the United Kingdom and certain countries, including Russia, to form a united front against aggression, and indicated to the United Kingdom Government its support of the efforts being made to this end.

National Co-ordinating Council for Physical Fitness.

Mr Curtin n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact the Government has established a national co-ordinating council for physical fitness?

2.   Who are the members of thu council?

3.   What is the nature of the work this council proposes to do?

4.   Has any report yet been made?

5.   Has the Government decided to provide halls with all kinds of gymnasium equipment for the use of those who have enlisted in the Army?

6.   Is the physical fitness of our youths of national concern?

7.   If so, willhe give financial assistance to the various State governments to enable them to establish similar recreation halls throughout Australia and also recreation grounds, so as to enable the youths of Australia to have a reasonable opportunity to maintain a better standard of fitness than prevails to-day?

Mr Menzies - The answersto the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   The Honorable Sir Frederick Stewart, Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services, chairman: the Honorable H. E. Holt; Mrs. Clarence Weber, M.L.A.; Sir Raphael Cilento; Brigadier F. P. Derham; Colonel W. H. Rockliff ; Dr. C. T. Madigan; Mrs. E. A. Waterworth; Mr. F. Buss; Mr. A. Curlewis; Mrs. F. J. Davey; and Dr. J. H. L. Cumpston. 3. (a) To act as a co-ordinating agency to ensure the improvement of the state of individual physical fitness throughout Australia on a national basis; (b) To co-operate with State governments, State departments, local authorities, and any State council for physical fitness for the following purposes : -

(i)   To develop community and individual appreciation of the need for and the benefits of physical well-being and to develop a sense of community and racial responsibility in that regard;

(ii)   To provide opportunity and, essential facilities for every individual to develop a sound knowledge of the principles of physical education;

(iii)   To adapt physical education to the necessities of each stage of life - as, for example, the infant, the child, the youth, the adult - and to make relevant information readily accessible to the public;

(iv)   To co-ordinate the efforts of organizations which are now or may be later working for allied purposes, and to assist and supplement their efforts where desirable and possible;

(v)   To give full regard to -

(a)   the part played in the building of the body by the adequate care and feeding of the expectant and nursing mother; and

(b)   the high importance of right nutrition at all stages of growth and development;

(vi)   To provide for positive, preventive, remedial and corrective training;

(vii)   To provide for adequate education of teachers and leaders in the principles and practice of physical education, and to record in a national register the names and qualifications of such adequately trained persons;

(viii)   To foster in association with the National Health and Medical Research Council, inquiries into the factors associated with any degree of general or specific unfitness, and in relation thereto to recommend and assist in measures of correction.

4.   Yes. A report of the proceedings of the first session of the council was issued. A copy will be supplied to the honorable member.

5.   All departmental drill halls arc being supplied with a standard set of recreational gymnastic equipment. Halls rented by the Defence Department, if suitable for recreational gymnastic training, will also be so equipped.

6.   The well-being of every individual is a matter of national concern; in this sense physical fitness is in the same position as other matters. In the constitutional or administrative sense the position is not so simple. It is obvious that physical fitness can best be encouraged by measures arising at and applied at the point nearest to the individual. Local government bodies must, therefore, play a most important part.

7.   The whole policy is now being examined in the light of a conference held recently with the State Ministers for Education. The Australian universities have been advised that the Commonwealth Government will provide £1,000 per annum to each of them for three years for the purpose of establishing courses of diploma standard, and giving diplomas in physical education.

Loans for Public Works.

Mr.Curtin asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

With reference to his reply to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition on the 3rd November, 1938, seeking the amount of loan money requested by the State governments for public works and the amounts allotted forcertain years, will he communicate with the State Premiers with a view to securing their permission to make available such particulars, and will he supply the information where a favorable reply is received?

Mr Menzies s. - The honorable member's request will be submitted to the Loan Council for consideration at its next meeting.

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