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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3236

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - I urge the Committee to accept the proposals outlined in clause 38 (b) of the Bill. What is suggested by the Opposition has resulted from nothing more or less than pressures from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, spearheaded in the Senate by one of the Opposition senators who owns a pharmacy. This is entirely wrong. The friendly society pharmacies do and have done over the many years, and will continue to do over the many years, a wonderful job of work . for the people in the area in which they operate.

Senator Webster - Dr Grimes,is it?

Senator MILLINER - Hello, the ignorant Chairman of Committees is at it again.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! Senator Milliner will address the Chair.

Senator MILLINER - The reason that the Pharmacy Guild is able to put pressure on the Opposition to move in this direction is because the friendly societies do not belong to the Guild. Let us take the situation of a pharmacy operating in an area in which a friendly society is operating. After the Pharmacy Guild chemist closes a person who wants a prescription filled has to go to an all-night chemist which may be located some miles away. But the friendly societies, as a general proposition, are always available for the people. If it is the intention of the Opposition to restrict the work of the friendly societies in this direction then it is going to do something which is not in the interests of the people. I go a step further and say that the friendly societies give rebates to people who have their prescriptions made up with them. Chemists, of course, do not like that.

Opposition senators are the people who are pledged to support competition, but when competition is in the interests of someone who is not a member of the Pharmacy Guild the pressures of the Pharmacy Guild prevail. The Opposition proposes a retrograde step, and the people of Australia will be the ones who will suffer if this proposition is carried. I have been in this chamber only about 7 years, but I have never seen such sloppy arrangements as are being presented by the Opposition tonight. At one time today it proposed to refuse to give the Bill a second reading. That attitude changed. Subsequently it proposed to oppose all of the clauses in the Bill. Of course, that attitude changed. Now we are presented with a series of amendments. The other day honourable senators opposite were chiding the Government with not being competent to run the affairs of government. I ask: What is the situation in regard to this Bill? We now have amendments coming in, whereas earlier we were told that there would be no amendments moved to the Bill whatsoever. I ask the Senate to carry clause 38 in its entirety. If it fails to do that it will be playing into the hands of the Pharmacy Guild and it will be taking action which will be against the interests of many people in Australia.

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