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Notice given 29 September 2006

2520  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that 45 copies of the Peaceful Pill Handbook authored by Dr Philip Nitschke were seized by the Australian Customs Service at Brisbane Airport on 19 September 2006.

(2) What was the reason for the seizure.

(3) If, as reported, a reason is that the book includes the incitement to suicide, can the offending incitement(s) be identified, including page references.

(4) Is it the case that the books will be destroyed in 21 days if no appeal is made; if so: (a) what is the reason for this timeframe; and (b) can an extension be applied for, if this proves too short a time period in which to prepare an appeal.

2521  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Is the Minister aware of the research finding by the University of Sydney, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on 3 April 2006, that 10.4 per cent of general practitioner encounters were with patients who, when asked, reported an adverse drug event in the previous 6 months, reports that this has been confirmed by other studies and that is widely recognised as a gross under-estimation of the problem.

(2) Can the Minister confirm the finding that there appeared to be ‘gross under-reporting’ of adverse events and that the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (ADRAC) of the Therapeutic Goods Administration actively discouraged reporting of less severe adverse drug events, as well as known side effects, to avoid overloading the system.

(3) Can the Minister confirm that the number of reports submitted by general practitioners to the ADRAC fell from 3314 in 2002 to 2075 in 2004.

(4) Was active discouragement by the ADRAC the cause of this fall; if not, what was the cause.

(5) What is the scope of patient morbidity for adverse drug events classified as ‘unimportant’.


 (6) What is the estimated annual cost to the health system of preventable adverse drug events severe enough to warrant hospitalisation.

(7) Will the Government insist that general practitioners in future report all moderate and severe drug reactions, including those that are a result of a known side effect.

2522  Senator Kirk: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Human Services—

(1) With reference to the answers to parts (1) to (5) of question on notice no. 1764 (Senate Hansard , 8 August 2006, p. 209): (a) what are the particular ongoing legal proceedings for which privilege is claimed in respect to: (i) legal advice, and (ii) the memorandum or brief requesting the advice; and (b) in what jurisdiction are the ongoing legal proceedings.

(2) Does Centrelink have the authority to access the tax file numbers of individuals from the Australian Taxation Office without the permission of the individuals concerned; if so, what is the relevant legislation and/or determination that grants this authority.