Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2914 ..
(f) the intent of this motion is to ensure that the dispensing of products occurs without fear of intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment for those seeking assistance; and
(3) calls on the ACT Government:
(a) to explore options for the introduction of a requirement for pharmacies who choose not to supply relevant reproductive health products to display clearly visible signage:
(i) to inform consumers;
(ii) in plain language; and
(iii) outline which particular reproductive health products they do or do not supply; and
(b) to work with dispensers and their relevant representative organisations to ensure that their professional standards are met in the supply of reproductive health products by allowing people, particularly women, to access these products and services without fear of intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment.”.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.20): I welcome the minister’s amendment to Ms Cody’s motion. I must say that when I first saw Ms Cody’s motion, quite frankly I was struck by how well thought out it was. I was also struck by what appeared to me to be an attempt by Ms Cody to cut the grass from under Ms Le Couteur, who has a bill before this place about access to abortion.
It seems that the tone of Ms Cody’s original motion and the tone of the issues that she was discussing on radio yesterday have been quite transformed today. I welcome that approach. I welcome the approach in the minister’s amendment, which seems to take away a lot of the language that was critical, mainly of pharmacists. I thought that was unwarranted and it gave the opposition considerable concern.
The opposition still has concern because the crux of the matter still lies in paragraph 3(a). It does not matter which version of paragraph 3(a) you look at. It still is an attempt to require pharmacists to display a certain amount of signage in relation to whether they do or do not provide a particular service. There are problems with this. I have highlighted them this morning with the minister. Section 66 of the ACT Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act makes it quite clear that it is illegal to advertise particular prohibited or restricted drugs. Most of the drugs that relate to reproductive health are S8 drugs and you cannot advertise that you sell them; so it may be problematic to advertise that you do not sell them, that you do not dispense them.
It is also, as members should know, quite onerous to be a dispenser of schedule 8 drugs. As a result of that, many pharmacists choose not to do so. The Liberal opposition has real concerns about paragraph 3(a). It says, “explore the options.” The aim seems to be that in the end there should be signage. That puts the onus on the small business owner, and a pharmacist is a small business owner. If the small business owner puts up a sign that says, “I do not dispense drugs in relation to