Body Image Campaign

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:54): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for the Status of Women a question on the subject of the government’s body image campaign.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: It was revealed in a previous question time that the minister was going to provide us with some information on the state government’s election pledge to run a body image campaign with regard to young women and girls. In that response the minister indicated that this campaign would be based on an American campaign. It is my understanding that that American campaign in New York City had a budget of $300,000. The government of South Australia has committed $15,000. My question to the minister is: how does she expect a campaign that has been cut to 5 per cent of the original budget when implemented elsewhere will be effective in South Australia?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 14:55 ): Again it is disappointing to see that instead of honourable members acknowledging positive agendas from the state government around working on body image—it is a positive initiative, and I have outlined very briefly what that initiative entails. The details have been worked up with workgroups, using young people, and I have spoken about that in this place.

I indicated that it was based on an American project. It is not the same project at all. I believe the project that the honourable member is possibly referring to is one for older children. I understand that it works on social media; I think it is Facebook or some application like that. We want to target groups of children younger than that, and that type of social media was deemed to be not appropriate for that age group so we have designed something that we believe is age-appropriate.

I have indicated that in terms of some details that I have taken on notice previously in this place—and I understand the Hon. Tammy Franks asked pretty much the same questions in the finance committee as well—a commitment was given to bring back a response, which I am pleased to do. But I am very proud to be part of a government that is prepared to get off its backside and work up projects in a very difficult budget climate. And yet we are still able to roll out new initiatives at a wide range of different levels. We have the body image campaign and we have a repeat offenders database that we are putting in place. We have a wide range of initiatives that we are rolling out, and I think this government should be congratulated on such an aggressive agenda to combat violence against women and children.


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 14:58 ): Supplementary: how does the minister propose this campaign will target girls—I believe she said previously seven to 12 years of age—on social media when social media platforms typically ban children under 12 from accessing them?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 14:58 ): That is exactly the point I was making, Mr President. The project that I believe—and the honourable member did not give a lot of detail—the one I presume—

The Hon. T.A. Franks: It’s your project.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: No, the one you are talking about in America. The one she is referring to, Mr President, is a project that is suitable for older children. As the honourable member pointed out and as I said in my answer, it is not appropriate to have—we are trying to target a younger group. The sort of project that she referred to in relation to the American model is targeted at an older group. It is inappropriate for younger children to be accessing that type of social media.

We are looking at a younger group. We are looking at young people coming together, with some guidance and assistance, to search out those sorts of projects that are likely to resonate with them to communicate messages for that age-specific group about positive body image, relying not on concepts of beauty and being skinny and dieting and suchlike, but the beauty within, people’s capabilities, their generosity of spirit, the value of friendships, and those sorts of things.

In terms of the specifics, in terms of what it might look like, it could be, for instance, a game, an app, that it is appropriate for very young children. The reason we are bringing young people together in workshops to think through and develop those sorts of ideas is to ensure that we have activities that will be relevant and will resonate for that particular group.

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