Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2911 ..
This motion asks the government to have a conversation, to help people of all genders to access respectful advice from a pharmacist. I look forward to hearing what other members of the Assembly have to say about this motion.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.11): I will speak only briefly, in deference to the fact that my voice is not much better than it was yesterday, and I want to save a bit of voice for the debate on the bus network.
Of course, the Greens are in total agreement with Ms Cody’s motion. We have always stood firmly by our belief that women and men have the right to exercise their reproductive freedoms and their reproductive health rights without fear of discrimination or impediment.
That is the reason why I introduced legislation into the Assembly earlier this year to improve access to abortion, which is a key reproductive health service, although, fortunately, not as common as the reproductive health services that Ms Cody has spoken about in her speech. I look forward to talking more about abortion-related issues in that debate, when my voice will have recovered.
I am well past menopause; it is a long time since these issues were really part of my day-to-day life. I cannot remember there ever being any issues with getting products to deal with menstruation, for instance, and condoms are freely available in supermarkets. Maybe the problem is not as bad as it seems from Ms Cody’s motion. Certainly, we are in favour of the intention to provide information to people, and if there are pharmacists who are finding this problematic then a better conversation with them and better information for their clients have to be a good thing.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.13): I thank Ms Cody very much for moving this important motion today and for bringing to this place discussion of things that, as has been acknowledged, are part of our day-to-day lives, particularly for women who are at different stages of their lives. It is a great reflection on this place that we can have a discussion about things that really do matter in the day-to day lives of women, and I acknowledge Ms Cody’s outstanding commitment to women’s health rights in bringing forward a motion like this.
It really does matter, particularly for women in this place, to talk about many of these issues. I reflect on a discussion during the estimates committee hearing as well when Ms Cheyne talked about sexually transmitted infections, something that is having a real impact in our community. If we are not talking about this openly in this place, young women and young men in particular will think it is something that cannot be spoken about more broadly in the community. So this is a really welcome debate. It is exactly the kind of thing we should be talking about here.
Madam Speaker, we know that many women seek advice from a range of professionals in the health sector to assist them to stay healthy and well. Certainly when it comes to reproductive medicines and access to medicines relating to