Page 3743 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.32): I stand amazed at the words of the Minister for Health that I just heard while I was sitting in my office. I could not believe the hypocrisy of her stance. As Mrs Dunne and my other colleagues have rightly said, we are in the process of debating tobacco legislation with regard to point of sale. There is an excellent bill up for debate, most of which we support on health terms. The point of sale is the issue that we are talking about here. I commend Mr Mulcahy for doing this, and I do believe—I have not checked it—I raised that same point in a speech, and I am glad that Mr Mulcahy possibly took that up, because it is a very, very important issue. You cannot, on the one hand, be trying to prevent the uptake of smoking, particularly amongst young people, by banning point-of-sale displays and not, on the other hand, support this proposal. I thought this would be a breeze for the government and that they would say, “Of course we’ll agree to this.”

What perhaps need to be added to Mr Mulcahy’s bill are further educative measures, as I think Mr Seselja pointed out. There needs to be a multifaceted approach, and the same argument applies for the tobacco legislation, which I hope to get to talk to by the end of this week. If you ban it, as Dr Foskey has said, you can push some of this activity underground—with tobacco it could be chop-chop, and with this you could be using hose pipes. But that is not to say that we stand in this place and say, “I can’t do anything,” because they are the words that nearly came out of the minister’s mouth. She fell just short of saying, “I can’t do anything really.”

Mrs Dunne: Just like she cannot do anything about health services.

MRS BURKE: No, “We cannot do anything.” So what do we do? We just capitulate; the minister capitulates and gives in. We will be supporting the bill. Just in case the minister did not hear, we will be supporting the bill. It is absolute hypocrisy at its best for this health minister to be espousing no smoking in playgrounds, no smoking in outdoor areas, no smoking in cars, et cetera and so on, with regard to legal tobacco products sold under licence in the ACT while not supporting a ban on the sale of bongs and products to aid in the use of illicit drugs. Where is the sense in what the minister said? She is saying the government will have it both ways—“We think doing drugs is bad, but, never mind. We’ll continue to allow the display of and sale of such paraphernalia.” It flies in the face of everything that this health minister supposedly stands for. The minister should be very, very embarrassed about that speech.

The health minister needs to consider Mr Mulcahy’s bill. I agree that we have only had a week to do so, but complaining about that is rich coming from the government. My wordy, they will just ram things through with no notice; it does not matter. I got a call from the Manager of Government Business two minutes before we sat this morning telling me the plan. They do it to the community all the time: “This is the plan. Go with it or lump it.” This is a serious issue that Mr Mulcahy has brought forward, and it is very pertinent this week, given that we are debating the tobacco legislation. I am absolutely stunned by what the so-called health minister has had to say about this. It is ridiculous in the extreme for her to push one thing on one side but then say on the other side of it, “No. We’ll allow displays of stuff that aid the use of illicit drugs.” I cannot comprehend it.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.36): Well done, Mr Mulcahy on bringing forward this excellent bill, which I think really does hit the spot. The government’s

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