Questions without notice – Pharmaceutical Industry

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Mr DUTTON (DicksonLeader of the Opposition) (14:32): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, what’s your message to the pharmacists in the gallery today?

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen is warned.

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerPrime Minister) (14:32): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. My message to the pharmacists in the gallery today is: good on you; good on you for the work that you do in the community. That is one of the reasons we argued during the pandemic that pharmacists should do more. But those opposite held back, left them on the bench. Pharmacists could have been used to assist with vaccines.

I don’t know whether my friend Adele is up there today—yes, she’s up there; my friend Adele Tahan is there. She’s the Vice President of the Pharmacy Guild. I met with Adele in my electorate office—because, as a good local member, I still represent the people of Grayndler—and I had a very constructive chat with Adele. Her pharmacy at Rozelle does extraordinary work—I can see you, and good luck with the twins, Adele; congratulations on their birth!

One of the things I understand about small business is that people like Adele Tahan and my local pharmacy across the road from my electorate office, on Marrickville Road—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! There is far too much noise on my right. The Prime Minister is being relevant by directly acknowledging someone in the gallery. I’m not sure if this point of order is on relevance, but I’ll hear from the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Dutton: Mr Speaker, it is on relevance. The Prime Minister has ripped $160,000 out of pharmacists—

The SPEAKER: Resume your seat.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will cease interjecting immediately.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition: I took your point of order, out of respect for the office you hold. I’m going to hear from the Leader of the House.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, I’d just raise that it was a deliberately frivolous point of order, that his response was then out of order and then he continued to interject from out of his seat.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order. The Leader of the Opposition gets a lot of latitude, but simply getting up in this chamber and having a free-for-all is not on. The Prime Minister was asked a question about a message to people in the gallery. He was directly talking to people in the gallery—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order—by name. I’m not sure how more relevant he could be.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! This is a huge issue—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order!—that is having an impact on the House. I’m just going to ask that the Prime Minister be heard in silence, out of respect for the office he holds.

Mr ALBANESE: As I said, I respect the job that pharmacists do. I interact with them all the time. I regard them as people who, like the post office masters in the past, and like the newsagents, are people who service their local community and who I have had a long contact with.

Mr Littleproud interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr Littleproud interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Nationals, if he says one more thing, will leave the chamber.

Mr ALBANESE: And that is why, when we considered this measure, that was the subject of vast consultation between the government and the Pharmacy Guild—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! Members on my left will cease interjecting. Order. The Prime Minister will continue his answer in silence.

Mr ALBANESE: That is why we made sure that every single dollar that the Commonwealth will benefit from goes back into community pharmacy. And I’ve had discussions—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! Members on my left, this is not acceptable, this response. Further action will be taken if this behaviour continues. I’m going to move to the next question. The time has now concluded.

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