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Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Page: 6065

Senator SIEWERT (11:02 AM) —I find myself in the strange situation where I am agreeing with the opposition for the second time in a week.

Senator Cormann interjecting—

Senator SIEWERT —I know—the twilight zone twice in one week! The Greens also have issues with consultation, which I touched on earlier, particularly about feedback and the ongoing process of dialogue with industry and the sector. We think it needs to be improved. We have similar concerns with the amendments outlined by Senator Xenophon, where it says ‘the Secretary must be satisfied that the proposed instrument will not have a negative impact’. Unfortunately, it depends on how you view ‘negative impact’, but we also have to be aware—accepting Senator Cormann’s comments around possible illicit use of certain chemicals and drugs—that we are dealing with an extensive industry. There may be people who do not have the best intentions in providing a complementary medicine. We all know that false claims are made. If a decision were made, that could be seen as having a negative impact on the therapeutic goods industry. We have some concerns that that is a very broad statement. We understand the intent. The Greens are very concerned to ensure that complementary medicines are able to take their proper role in our healthcare system and are supported, but we think this is much too broad and may have an adverse impact on the industry rather than it being a positive approach. We applaud the intent but unfortunately cannot support the wording of the amendment.