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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1509

Senator MCAULIFFE (QUEENSLAND) - Is the Minister for Health aware that there is great concern and alarm among physical education experts because surveys show that Australian school children are the unfittest in the world and that they are becoming less fit each year? Will the Minister tell the Senate why the report and findings of the survey into the fitness of Australian secondary school students conducted by Dr A. W. Willee of the University of Melbourne on behalf of the Government were not presented to the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness during 1970 as promised in the national fitness annual report of that year? I also ask the Minister: Will the report and findings of the survey be presented to the Council in August as stated by the Minister in March, despite claims that Dr Willee is still disagreeing with the Council on what should be published and is upset because he has been asked to change the survey's emphasis?


I am aware of recent newspaper reports which have outlined various physical educationalists' views on the supposed unfitness of Australian youth. However I have not seen any report to support these views. Nor have the physical education experts named the specific surveys to which they refer. The findings in relation to the second matter, that is the survey directed by Dr Willee on behalf of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness were, in fact, presented to that Council in July 1971. This was ;he earliest possible time that this could be done because one State did not complete its testing programme until SeptemberOctober 1970. Insofar as my previous statement about the anticipated date of presentation is concerned - I think I mentioned August in the previous answer - I am still reasonably confident that the report will be presented then.

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