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Thursday, 2 September 1993
Page: 872


Senator NEWMAN —My question is directed to the Minister for Family Services. Can the minister please inform the Senate of her response to the eight recommendations of the national family summit?


Senator CROWLEY —I understand that Senator Newman is referring to the summit that was held in about November-December last year. The Prime Minister addressed it and Ita Buttrose was in attendance. Is this the same family summit?


Senator Newman —She ran it.


Senator CROWLEY —That is right. I have had the pleasure of receiving the book of the result of those proceedings from Ms Buttrose. We are in the process of formulating a response to it, particularly in terms of how some of the initiatives and ideas from that report can be incorporated and can contribute to the programs of the International Year of the Family. At this stage the secretariat of the International Year of the Family is in the process of looking at that, along with a number of other contributions to its outline and plans; so that is still under way. When something emerges from that, I will certainly make sure that Senator Newman has it.


Senator NEWMAN —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. I thank the minister for her answer, but clearly she has not read the recommendations of the national summit or she would have been able to address them now, as I asked. Is it not also true that she personally gave Ita Buttrose an undertaking to report and to comment on the recommendations, but that in July this year the director of the office of the International Year of the Family wrote to Ita Buttrose saying that the minister had referred it to the council to answer the recommendations? I ask the minister: what is the government's response—what is her response—to the eight recommendations of the national family summit? Does the government not have a view on those recommendations? Tell us what they were and what the government's answers are.


Senator CROWLEY —One of the recommendations was that the model of that whole summit might want to be reproduced in places outside of capital cities so that many more Australians would have an opportunity to be involved. I notice that Senator Newman is smiling; maybe she has discovered that I do have some idea of what is in the book. The interesting thing is that that is exactly the kind of recommendation from that report that properly belongs to the planning for the International Year of the Family. The International Year of the Family committee that I have just appointed, headed by Professor Bettina Cass, will have its first meeting next week. One of the things it is looking at is the process of consultation; so, clearly, it will properly want to address and incorporate that recommendation from the family summit—looking at ways in which consultation around the country for the year can happen.