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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1139

Senator CROWLEY(5.46) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This paper addresses the Commonwealth Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism and recommendations in this area. I take this opportunity to make a few remarks about this matter and explain why I have a particular interest in it. The report made a number of recommendations to be taken up in this portfolio area and the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown), in tabling the Government's response to that report, was pleased to note that the recommendations largely confirmed this Government's priorities in the area of sports and recreation-that is, that there should be much wider participation. While there is continuing support for high performance sport, there is also support and effort to provide leadership, innovation and research to facilitate the participation in sport and recreation of the Australian community as a whole . The Government in many areas of its portfolio areas has supported the notion of community participation and development and of course this fits very well within the portfolio area of sports and recreation.

The reason the Government argues this is not only because of the notion of equity and participation by the community but also because fit and healthy people contribute to the general well being of the Australian community and sports and recreation allow people to become fit or to enjoy getting fit. At least most of us enjoy that exercise-I know that some people complain about it. On the whole sport and recreation is a matter of enjoyment for Australians, and while the Government appreciates the importance of promoting excellence and world success in all our sporting facilities, it also addresses the aspect of broad participation. In this report it also addresses the specific needs of certain groups in the community, in particular Aborigines and the disabled. Although our Aboriginal community is not perhaps sufficiently represented in sports and recreation, our disabled people are increasingly more represented. It was not so long ago that Australians featured so successfully and splendidly in the recent Paraolympic Games. I will speak of that later.

Another reason I wish to talk to this paper is because of another Government initiative. I have recently been appointed convenor of a working party for the Women in Sport Committee. The main aims of this Committee are to look at increasing the participation of women in sport and in particular to look at ways in which the participation of women in sport is not only promoted, but also recognised by the media. It was quite clear to the Committee, even after its first meeting, that media coverage of women in sport is insufficient to say the least. A survey done in 1981 of the major Australian daily newspapers' sporting coverage for a week, which was fairly exactly examined and measured in column inches, showed that 2 per cent of their sporting coverage was devoted to women's sport. We feel that that is insufficient; in fact, if I were given to legal phrases I would say that our case rests. In the light of that sort of evidence we intend to take steps and make proposals and recommendations to improve the situation.

I have an excellent committee working with me and one of its members is Elizabeth Kosmala. I mention her in particular because of my previous comments about the Parolympic Games. Elizabeth Kosmala has recently returned from those Games where she gained four gold medals in shooting events. These were the World Parolympic Games and Elizabeth was not the only representative or gold medallist from Australia at those Games. I do not only commend people who get gold medals as, I think the significant thing in world games is for any Australian to reach the standard that allows him or her to qualify to represent this country overseas. I am very pleased that the working committee on Women in Sport is underway. Our report should be tabled by the end of April. We hope to consult broadly with women's groups, media groups, radio, newspapers and television, as well as magazines around Australia. We hope to talk with groups in all States and we hope to receive a wide range of submissions from anyone with an interest in this area.

Question resolved in the affirmative.