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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1930

Senator GRIMES (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs seen reviews published recently in the Press of the book 'Every Second Child' by Dr Archie Kalokerinos? Is the Minister concerned at Dr Kalokerinos 's claim that there has been negligence on the part of government departments in investigating the validity of the doctor's theory concerning the effects of vitamin C deficiency on Aboriginal infants? Can the Minister advise whether the Government has investigated Dr Kalokerinos 's findings? If so, what has been the result of those investigations?

Senator CAVANAGH -The government and the Minister for Health, Dr Everingham, have investigated Dr Kalokerinos 's findings on this question and I have had discussions with the Minister for Health. Firstly, it must be said that the work this doctor has done amongst Aboriginal people is well appreciated. His capabilities and studies in relation to this question also must be recognised. While the value of his work is acknowledged in the Department of Health there is some doubt about the validity of his theory concerning the effects of vitamin C on the health of the Aboriginal people, a theory which he seems to believe is the whole solution to the Aboriginal health problem. Only within the last month I received a deputation representing doctors in New South Wales who are looking after the health of the Aboriginal people in that State. They say that it is impossible to overcome the health problem of Aborigines while there is a lack of housing and while there are cramped conditions. Dr Kalokerinos has had discussions with the Minister for Health. Within the Department of Health generally, it is not accepted that his theory will provide the solution. We hope that by a study of the question we can obtain a more definite solution to the problem of Aboriginal health. It is true that in many areas vitamin C tablets or special foods will supply a vitamin C diet to Aborigines. But we do not accept and the Department of Health does not accept the theory that this is the solution to all Aboriginal health problems.

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