Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

Other title

Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 precautions and install fences etc because these measures are really by no means foolproof, and the protection they provide is not available outside that location. In relation to road safety, every child attending school over the last 20 years has believed that, if you buckle up your seat belt, you will be totally immune to any danger. Obviously, that is nonsense, although it is excellent that they learn to use seat belts. However, if that results in 16-year-old or adult drivers believing that, provided they wear a seat belt, they are invulnerable, clearly we have a deal o f work to do in that regard. All these matters need to be balanced one against another and great caution needs to be exercised in relation to them. We need safety nets supporting safety nets to ensure that children growing into adults develop a healthy attitude to the proliferation o f dangers that exist in our society. They have always been there and will continue to exist regardless o f how many fences we build. I may have spoken tongue in cheek this morning when I said in conversation that perhaps the only foolproof method is to build a safety fence around every kid and even that may not work. However, I believe some lateral thinking is what is required. Turning to my areas o f ministerial responsibility, the Office o f Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading has an important role to play in enhancing the safety o f kids. Quite often, the unit works in conjunction with Kidsafe, the NT Police, Neighbourhood Watch, the Fire Service and road safety councils etc. The Product Safety Branch is continually monitoring the market to ensure that toys on sale to the public are not dangerous or potentially dangerous, and I take the member for Braitlings point. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that, if a toy is dangerous, they will not purchase it irrespective o f its marketing appeal or the kids stamping o f their feet. Parents cannot go into shops assuming that every toy on sale will be safe. They must use their own judgment, but the consumer affairs people attempt to intercept dangerous toys on the market and have a role to play in that regard. Australian Standard 1647 Part 2 relates to the safety aspects o f childrens toys but, if goods are found to be dangerous, a thorough investigation needs to be conducted. As the minister responsible, I might receive advice that would lead to prohibition o f sale o f the product or even the recall o f the goods until the problem is rectified. Recent investigations in that area have included noise levels o f toy cellular telephones. Some telephones were found to have noise levels quite in excess o f those reasonable for a child o f 18 months to 4 years o f age to be exposed to, particularly when children will pick up the toy telephone and place it directly to their ears. In recent years, my predecessor was responsible for a number o f cases involving the banning o f a dangerous toy known as Growasaurus. If a kid ingested this particular product, it expanded by up to 300%, and one does not need to be a medico to appreciate the potential dangers involved in that. At that time, it is likely that the minister was also involved when sling-shots were on the market. At show time, large quantities o f all kinds o f toys are offered for sale and as prizes and that creates a particularly busy time for the office. Christmas is another period o f potential concern. Christmas tree decorations obviously appeal to young children but many o f them are very fragile, breaking easily into small pieces that can be dangerous. Once again, how far should we go? I guess we can try to intercept many o f these things but, once again, safety in the'home is the responsibility of all members o f the household. Having toys classified as suitable for specified age groups 1813