Thursday, 10 May 2018
Obesity Epidemic in Australia Committee; Appointment
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee into the obesity epidemic in Australia, be established on 16 May 2018 to inquire into and report on 14 August 2018, on the following matters:
(a) the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Australia and changes in these rates over time;
(b) the causes of the rise in overweight and obesity in Australia;
(c) the short and long-term harm to health associated with obesity, particularly in children in Australia;
(d) the short and long-term economic burden of obesity, particularly related to obesity in children in Australia;
(e) the effectiveness of existing policies and programs introduced by Australian governments to improve diets and prevent childhood obesity;
(f) evidence-based measures and interventions to prevent and reverse childhood obesity, including experiences from overseas jurisdictions;
(g) the role of the food industry in contributing to poor diets and childhood obesity in Australia; and
(h) any other related matters.
(2) That the committee consist of seven senators, two nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, one nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens and two nominated by minority groups and independent senators.
(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Leader of the Australian Greens or any minority party or independent senator;
(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and
(c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of the committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.
(4) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(5) That the committee elect as chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens and, as deputy chair, a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
(6) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.
(7) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.
(8) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.
(9) That the committee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.
(10) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President of the Senate.
(11) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such documents and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.
The government does not support this motion, as we consider this proposed committee to be a Trojan Horse to implement a sugar tax. The government recognises the importance of tackling obesity and we have two key initiatives: the Healthy Food Partnership to encourage healthy eating; and the Health Star Rating system, a front-of-packet labelling system. As announced in Tuesday's budget, the government will also invest $230 million in sport and physical activity initiatives over five years.