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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6855

Senator Ludwig to move on the next day of sitting:

That there be laid on the table, no later than immediately after motions to take note of answers on Thursday, 5 December 2002, the Commonwealth Government's submission to the Remuneration Tribunal's major review of judicial and related offices' remuneration.

Senator Allison to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that Australians Against Child Abuse and the Child Abuse and Family Violence Research Unit at Monash University undertook a study in Victoria of mandatory reporting of child abuse and, in October 2002, released their report entitled, A Study in Confusion— Factors which affect the decisions of community professionals when reporting child abuse and neglect, and found:

(i) a lack of confidence in the statutory child protection system leading community professionals to sometimes feel reluctant to make a child abuse report,

(ii) that 54 per cent of respondents would not report children whom they judged to be at considerable or extreme risk,

(iii) that for 88 per cent of respondents, their decision about whether or not to report a child was influenced by their view of the anticipated outcomes for the child, and

(iv) more than half of the respondents believed the outcome would not be positive for the child (56 per cent) or for the child's family (63 per cent);

(b) urges the Victorian State Government to:

(i) fully implement its mandatory reporting legislation, extending mandatory reporting to all professional groups,

(ii) evaluate the extent to which mandated professionals are currently complying with the legislation, and

(iii) increase funding to statutory child protection services to more effectively investigate reports of child abuse; and

(c) urges the Federal Government to work with all state governments to develop a national approach to improving the ways in which abused children are protected, including national minimum standards of care, uniform child protection legislation, a national independent research program and a federal system of children's services commissioners to subject all child welfare systems to regular and rigorous review.

Senator Watson to move on the next day of sitting:

That the time for the presentation of the report of the Select Committee on Superannuation on tax arrangements for superannuation and related policy be extended to 12 December 2002.

Senator Heffernan to move on the next day of sitting:

That the time for the presentation of the report of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee on the Transport Safety Investigation Bill 2002 be extended to 5 December 2002.

Senator Ian Campbell to move on the next day of sitting:

That immediately after prayers on 4 December 2002, Senator Santoro may make his first speech without any question before the chair.

Senator Ridgeway to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Sunday, 1 December 2002, was the annual World AIDS Day, and sought to draw international attention to the need to refocus our efforts on:

(a) eliminating all forms of discrimination against people with, or suspected of having, HIV through education about HIV/AIDS,

(b) advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS, and

(c) promotion of legal protection for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS,

(ii) the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organisation released the `AIDS Epidemic Update 2002' in the week beginning 24 November 2002, drawing attention to the fact that the virus is fuelling a widening and increasingly deadly famine in southern Africa, where more than 14 million people are now at risk of starvation and more than 29 million people are already infected with HIV,

(iii) more than 90 per cent of the 42 million people who have HIV or AIDS live in developing countries, and only 2 to 3 per cent have access to antiretroviral drug therapies that are designed to stop or inhibit the spread of HIV,

(iv) the infection rate from HIV in Australia has remained relatively stable over the past few years, but in many countries around the world, particularly in southern Africa and parts of the Asia-Pacific region, the virus is spreading so rapidly that it is now a pandemic, and

(v) some 5 million people were infected worldwide during the past year;

(b) welcomes the decision at the recent meeting of World Trade Organisation ministers to endorse the developing world's better access to affordable medicines, including drugs used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, but encourages further progress to be made, particularly in relation to access to affordability of antiretroviral drugs; and

(c) reminds the Australian Government that, as a signatory to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which includes a commitment to stopping the spread of the AIDS pandemic by 2015, Australia needs to do all that is financially and medically possible to assist those countries, especially our nearest neighbours, which are struggling to contain the spread of the virus and to care for those already infected.

Senator Nettle to move on Wednesday, 4 December 2002:

(1) That the following matters be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 18 September 2003:

(a) the financial sustainability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including the assumptions of forward estimates of the cost of the PBS to the Commonwealth Government;

(b) the social and economic implications of increasing the co-payment for PBS-listed medicines, including the long-term implications for the health of Australians;

(c) whether the cost of the PBS to the Commonwealth Government provides value for money to the Australian community in terms of health outcomes;

(d) alternative means of funding the PBS, including:

(i) abolishing the Private Health Insurance Incentive Scheme and using the budget savings to fund the PBS,

(ii) a less regressive direct payment system taking into account ability to pay, and

(iii) abolishing the co-payment and replacing it with an increase in the Medicare levy;

(e) ways to map the prescribing habits of doctors and possible strategies to improve the quality of prescribing;

(f) the transparency of the PBS listing process, including the cost-benefit analysis that is conducted for drugs proposed for listing;

(g) whether the Commonwealth Government is making the best use of price-volume agreements to obtain the best value for money;

(h) the extent of leakage and means to eliminate it;

(i) whether voluntary controls on industry marketing practices are adequate or should be replaced with legislative controls;

(j) pharmaceutical industry practices that undermine the PBS and possible measures to eliminate or constrain these practices;

(k) cost shifting of pharmaceutical expenses from the states to the Commonwealth and ways to improve co-operation between the jusridictions; and

(l) implications of any agreements that seek to link trade restriction practices to the operation of the PBS.

(2) That in conducting this inquiry, the committee is to invite public submissions and to conduct public hearings in all capital cities.

Senator Nettle to move on the next day of sitting:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Health and Ageing (Senator Patterson) and the Minister representing the Minister for Trade (Senator Hill), no later than 4 pm on 4 December 2002, all documents relating to the possible inclusion of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as an item for discussion in negotiations for an Australia-United States free trade agreement, including but not limited to correspondence between the Australian and United States governments, recommendations to the Australian government and/or any Commonwealth government minister, and any Australian government response to those recommendations.

Senator Nettle to move on the next day of sitting:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Health and Ageing (Senator Patterson), no later than 4 pm on 4 December 2002, all documents relating to the inter-departmental committee (IDC) examining the effectiveness of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, including but not limited to submissions received by the IDC, the IDC's recommendations to the Minister, and any response by the Minister to those recommendations.

Senator BROWN (Tasmania) (4.30 p.m.)—I give notice that, on Wednesday, 4 December 2002, I shall move:

That, regarding Australian permanent resident Dr Lesley McCulloch, now imprisoned in Aceh, Indonesia, the Senate calls on the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Downer) to:

(a) seek an explanation from Indonesia for the delay of Dr McCulloch's trial from 27 November to 19 December 2002;

(b) have Australian representatives visit Dr McCulloch and give her any reasonable assistance; and

(c) ensure Dr McCulloch and her rights, including consular access, are not compromised by moves to declare or impose martial law in Aceh.


Senator Robert Ray —Which country is she a citizen of?

Senator BROWN—She is a permanent resident of Australia.


Senator Robert Ray —I am asking which country she is a citizen of; they should be looking after her.

Senator BROWN—You can look into that, Senator Ray.

I also give notice that, on Wednesday, 4 December 2002, I shall move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Gunns Ltd owns 170 000 hectares of freehold land in Tasmania, of which approximately 100 000 hectares is plantations and 70 000 hectares native forest, including old-growth eucalypt forests and rainforests,

(ii) approximately 70 000 hectares of Gunns' existing plantations were established under managed investment schemes which give tax concessions to investors under the 13-month prepayment rule,

(iii) Gunns intends to establish a total of 200 000 hectares of plantations on its own land and via joint ventures and considers the tax concessions essential for its plans,

(iv) the tax concessions will promote the clearing of 70 000 hectares or more of native forests by Gunns, and

(v) based on figures provided by the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer (Senator Coonan), the value of tax concessions for 70 000 hectares of plantations is $129 million; and

(b) calls on the Government to abolish those tax concessions, including the 13-month prepayment rule, which promote clearing of native forests and other native vegetation.


Senator Robert Ray —You are supposed to put some of these in writing—and there are others. That was the idea.


Senator Brown —We can change the standing orders, but I am within the standing orders. If there is to be a debate about that, let us have it.

Senator Brown to move on the next day of sitting:

That the following bill be introduced: A Bill for an Act to provide for a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry in relation to the operation and effectiveness of Australian security and intelligence services relating to the Bali terrorist outrage on 12 October 2002. Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (Bali Bombings) Bill 2002.