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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3662 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I am pleased, on behalf of the government, to be able to support this legislation on our last day of private members business. I know that for a long time pharmacies have looked for this sort of security within the ACT, the same level of security they have right across the rest of Australia.

Mr Berry: They have never been in danger though, Michael.

MR MOORE: Mr Berry, whom I am not allowed to refer to as Mr Cackle Berry apparently-

Mr Berry: You can if you like. Mr Moore says he thinks he is not allowed to refer to me as Cackle Berry. He has joined the Liberals now. He can call me what he likes.

MR SPEAKER: I will call you what I like in a minute if you-

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, the interesting thing is that Mr Berry suggests that the pharmacists have always been able to do this. Yes, but there has always been a cloud in the ACT over whether pharmacies could or not, and whether or not we could have pharmacies effectively owned by major corporations. This bill clarifies the position and the government is pleased to be supporting it.

MR BERRY (5.51): Mr Speaker, I recall one of the very first deputations that I received in my office. I was a recently appointed health minister in 1989 and I got this phone call from my office. They said, "There is a friend of yours on the phone who wants to come and see you." I said, "Oh, yes."

Mr Humphries: You have no friends. You were surprised at that, weren't you?

MR BERRY: I said, "Who could that be from the throng?" They said, "It's Kate Carnell. She wants to come and talk to you about pharmacies." Time dims the memory a bit, but I think she came and saw me and I think she put to me exactly the same sort of thing that we have been talking about at the moment. I think I might have said to her at the time that as there wasn't any danger anyway I didn't know what the fuss was about, but the wording of the act seemed to worry pharmacists a bit.

I think before the last ACT Assembly election the Pharmacy Guild people also approached us about this sort of legislation. I do not think they have ever been in any danger, but because of national competition policy and all that sort of stuff they have been extremely worried that they might be gobbled up by some of the bigger operators, and they have fairly argued that it would affect the level of the quality of service that would be provided to the community.

Mr Speaker, pharmacy is an interesting business. The goods and wares they sell to keep their pharmacy businesses above water are sold by a lot of other people. It was, I think, a matter of some concern that those other people might end up wanting to run pharmacies as much as pharmacies needed to sell the products that could be found in Woolworths and other places. Subsequently I see that this bill is in front of the house and Labor will be supporting it. I do not think there was ever any danger to the pharmacists. There were a few words in the legislation that seemed to trouble them and seemed to indicate to them that they might be taken over by somebody else in the context of

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