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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2444


Senator WOOD (Queensland) - I think the Government has included in the Bill a weak and watered down version of what the National Health and Medical Research Council wanted. Those of us in public life should know the right words to use in speeches. There is no question that the more simple the words used the more easily the meaning is conveyed to someone else. We have heard people making speeches and when they have sat down, what have we said to ourselves? We have said: 'He is a spinner of words. What did he say?'. We cannot remember what he said because he just spun words. On the other hand we hear a speaker who gives a speech in simple terms and, because of its simplicity, it is remembered; the message is conveyed to us. From our point of view, as a Government, if we think that something is a danger to the health of the people, it is our duty to convey the message to the people in as simple terms as possible. I think that the amendment moved by Senator Douglas McClelland proposes a more effective warning than that put forward by the Government. What does it say? It says that the National Health and Medical Research Council warns that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health.


Senator Marriott - Who are they?


Senator WOOD - Senator Marriott asks Who are they?'. 'They' are the National Health and Medical Research Council. I do not think the views expressed by Senator Marriott will be conveyed to the average person who reads the warnings. He feels that reference to the National Health and Medical Research Council would make people think of big brother or the Government, which people would resent. I believe that we should use the simple terms National Health and Medical Research Council'. The reference to 'health' and medical' will convey to the average person that somebody of authority is speaking. I do not think the message can be conveyed to the people in any other way. The National Health and Medical Research Council is a body which really knows what it is talking about. To put it in plain terms that cigarette smoking is dangerous is much simpler and much easier to understand than to say that smoking is hazardous. Everybody knows what a hazard is but of course everybody is not educated to the same standard and everybody does not think the same. Therefore it is necessary to make these terms as simple as possible. I think that to say in a positive, direct way that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health will convey a lot more meaning to people than to use the phrase which the Government has proposed. If we are trying to convey something to the people, let us have it in terms and phraseology which they will easily understand. Because of that I propose to support the amendment moved by Senator Douglas McClelland on behalf of the Opposition.







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