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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2284

Mr DONALD CAMERON (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I take the opportunity while the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) is at the table to heap praise upon him for his recent announcement that he intends altering the regulations in the Australian Capital Territory to allow contraceptives other than oral contraceptives to be available through various retail outlets rather than, as under the old concept, just the pharmacist. I suppose people are wondering what the Australian Parliament is coming to when 2 speeches in a row from this side of the House refer to the subject of sex. Last week only 34 hours were given to the Parliament to discuss legislation relating to abortion. Members have given great consideration to the question and have come to conclusions, but they have not really had an opportunity to present them to the Parliament. I suggest that the Minister should consider introducing legislation which would compel the manufacturers of the various forms and brands of contraceptives to print on the outside wrappers and the packet the failure rate of the various products as was outlined early in March by the honourable member for Casey (Mr Mathews), when he brought before the House various facts and figures which had been discovered by the Canberra Consumer Affairs Association.

We live in a day and age in which the more knowledge the population possesses about these things the better. Furthermore, I believe that every member of every parliament in Australia, whether it be State or Federal, has an obligation to set about tearing down those barriers which have existed in the past and which have prevented ready access to such things as contraceptives. I say this at a time when every member of this Parliament has had to think very deeply about this social question. It is all very well for those who are completely against abortion on demand - and I count myself in that group - to parade round with a holier than thou attitude, but it is proper for those people to recognise that in the 1970s we are, rightly or wrongly, living in a far more permissive society than that in which previous generations lived.

It is interesting to note that in the United States of America it has been established that 46.1 per cent of girls are sexually active before 20 years of age. Such a survey has never been taken in this country, but there is every reason to believe that the Australian figure would be comparable. At this moment the Aquarius pop festival is taking place at Nimbin in northern New South Wales. It is being sponsored by the Federal Government through the ministry to the arts. Last weekend the current affairs program Four Corners' showed a lass at the festival probably 18 or 19 years of age, bared down to the waist. The next segment of the program dealt with various women's magazines with a heavy emphasis on sex and even with fold-out colour photographs, like femine ones in 'Playboy', of male models. The stage has been reached where there is a great awareness of the functions of the body among the very young. I believe that any religious group, parliament or body in our community will keep its head buried in the sand if it says the only way to stop the proliferation of sex is to stop magazines with a strong emphasis on sex.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Berinson)Order!It being 15 minutes to 1 o'clock, in accordance with standing order 106 I put the question:

That grievances be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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