30 August 2023, 15:09
Legislative Council of Victoria, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

First of all, could I just open by expressing my profound appreciation to all the members who have participated in the debate for their thoughtful and heartfelt contributions. When I was reading my copy of the dummies guide to parliamentary procedure, this moment, it said, would be an ideal opportunity for me to both capture the discussion and rebut the points of difference, and there seems to be a definite lack of rebuttals to be made.

I would like to just note a couple of comments: could I compliment Mr McIntosh, Mr Galea, Ms Ermacora, Ms Watt and Ms Terpstra on their recognition of the changing role of medicinal cannabis and the fact that it is expanding rapidly – I think currently we are running at about 5000 new prescriptions by the TGA every month in Victoria alone. Quite clearly the law and a lot of workplace practice has not kept up with that.

I also note the comments from Ms Crozier and Mrs Hermans, which struck at the question of the mindfulness of employers and the need to control questions of WorkCover cost and employer liability. Can I just note and I hope provide some reassurance there that to my mind, given the literally dozens of reinstatement applications that are currently before industrial tribunals as well as the Federal Court over these very questions, consideration as to what represents good practice and what represents fair practice with regard to medicinal cannabis will be to the benefit of workers and employers, and that will be reflected in long-term practical application.

I also just note the comments both from Ms Terpstra and from Mr Limbrick about the conundrum here and the conundrum of on the one hand weighing up the rights of the primacy of the relationship between the doctor and their patient and on the other hand attempting to try and come to grips with this issue of the level of impairment and what that means practically on a day-to-day basis, and that will obviously be central to the committee.

I note Dr Mansfield’s valuable explanation. It is certainly the first time I have heard that linkage of pharmacology and politics, and maybe that gives a new meaning to the concept of polypharmacy.

[A member interjected]

Do you like that one? Yes, anyway, on that note, I thank everyone concerned for the process, and I commend the motion to the house.


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