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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 3441

Dr Everingham asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   As the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations claims that surveys show adult and peer behaviour is the main influence inducing children to smoke, will the Minister arrange for his Department to undertake or sponsor a similar survey to fmd what influences adults and children to stop smoking, or collate and publish existing findings on this subject.

(2)   As the Federation further claims that cigarette consumption rose after a ban on television advertising when advertising expenditure in other media rose, will the Minister publish especially findings which refer to other advertising media.

(3)   Will the Minister also publish replies to the 15 questions, quoted in the Federation's last annual report, from the United States House of Representatives.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I understand that the 1971-72 Annual Report of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations contains statements along the lines suggested by the honourable member. The statements are based upon a review of the world literature on this subject, current in 1966, which was made as a preliminary to a survey of the smoking habits of Australian schoolchildren, conducted by an hoc sub-committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council and published by Council in 1969. They do not refer to the results of the Australian study. The full text of the sub-committee's conclusions, which generally support the literature review, is as follows:

(1)   Smoking prevalence varies widely from school to school and from group to group and depends on many factors including local community conditions.

(ii)   There is an initial stage of experimentation in smoking. Some children do not progress beyond this stage while others persist in experimentation until, at a variable time interval, a state of true dependence or habituation is reached.

(iii)   This study suggests that smoking patterns and attitudes set by parents are important. Parental disapproval has an effect on the smoking behaviour of children and the attention of parents needs to be drawn to the fact that they can have a positive effect on their children's smoking status.

(iv)   Awareness of the health risks involved in snicking was iiic most powerful influence in those children who gave up smoking. Regular smokers were certainly as well informed as the non-smokers of the hazards involved in smoking. Health education campaigns have produced a tolerably wellinformed community among school children, but smoking among school children is still alarmingly high.

(v)   The Sub-Committee does not see mass communications as an area where it is competent to undertake investigation but there are a number of unanswered questions in this field, the most important being whether the role of mass communications with regard to smoking is one of initiation or one of reinforcement. It is also possible that mass communications could influence opinion leaders among children.

It is not planned at this stage to conduct further surveys of the kind referred to by the honourable member.

(2)   I am aware of these claims, but I am not aware of any relevant findings which would be appropriate for publication by or on behalf of the Government.

(3)   No. The relationship between smoking and ill health is accepted by the Government.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fond (Question No. 5771) Mr Hayden asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   What sum was contributed to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund by (a) contributors and (b) the Commonwealth Government during the latest 12 months period for which figures are available.

(2)   What sum was paid out of the Fund during the same period.

(3)   What was the state of the Fund at the latest available date.

(4)   Have any transfers been made from the Fund to consolidated revenue since the Fund came into operation; if so, what was the sura involved.

Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   During the year ended 30th June 1971, amounts received by the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund were as follows:

(a)   Total contributions from contributors $18,942,891.

(b)   Net receipts from Consolidated Revenue for the payment of benefits- $16,923,872,

(2)   Net payments from the Fund, after adjusting for repayments of amounts previously paid to members under section 42a of the Defence Forces Retirements Benefits Act 1948-1971, amounted to $27,480,081.

(3)   The balance of the Fund as at 30th June 1971 was $136,323,257. The state of the Fund is determined by actuarial investigation and as at 30th June 1964 was:


The actuarial investigation of the Fund as at 30th June 1969, as required by section 22 of the Act, is in progress.

(4)   Yes. Various amounts totalling $53,595 being amounts due to persons who could not be located and which had been unclaimed for more than 6 years, were transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund between 1954-55 and 1961-62. These amounts remain available for payment in the event of bona fide claims being received. Other amounts totalling $52,192, adjusting payments made to the Fund by the Commonwealth in respect of some invalidity pensions, were transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund between 1956-57 and 1961-62.

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