I'm going to make a brief statement about the vote in the Senate today to remove the safeguards and to remove the protections against unsafe medicinal cannabis. Let me say this, this is a deeply concerning and disappointing decision.
Mr Shorten and others who have joined him should reflect upon the fact that they have acted in defiance of the advice of the TGA, in defiance of the advice of the leading medical practitioners, in terms of the AMA and the College of GPs, even in defiance of the views of Palliative Care Australia.
There is already a safe, legal way to access medicinal cannabis in Australia, 133 patients have been prescribed that.
We opened the door to ensure that there were four major shipments that have already been delivered, so medicinal cannabis, where the doctors believe it can be prescribed, in a safe form, is available.
This decision today, however, by Mr Shorten and others removes those safeguards.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration could not be clearer that it is a potential risk, not just to health, but to lives.
It is, unfortunately, a reckless and irresponsible decision. I would call upon them to reflect upon that. We cannot accept this and I have asked the Therapeutic Goods Administration for advice.
Do you stand by your comments in The Australian this morning criticising (inaudible)?
I absolutely stand by my comments. My concern, and it's a deep concern, is to make sure that we have a strong, consistent, national regime.
A strong, consistent, national regime against terrorism. The Victorian Government is dangerously weak on law and order. What they have done, of course, with the parole laws is seen widely by the community as unacceptable.
What they have done with their laxity on gangs is widely seen as unacceptable, and I hope that no state and no state system will take a common view against strong, consistent, national law.
(Inaudible) do you support the separation of power?
Absolutely, but what we have responded to is a general comment and that is the right thing for us to do, and I would say the overwhelming majority of Australians want strong, clear, consistent terror laws. The overwhelming majority of Australians want strong, clear, consistent terror laws.
Pauline Hanson says that you deceived her, or the Government deceived One Nation when it initially set about its allowance commotion. What do you make of that comment?
I would say this, that the advice from the TGA today, which I've just received, is exactly the same as it was when we were initially given it, and exactly the same as was presented to Senate Estimates, and that is removing the safeguards could potentially allow in dangerous drugs that could take lives.
That advice was given to Senate Estimates by the head of the TGA, Professor John Skerritt. It could also allow in unregulated drugs in quantities that could be used for diversion.
Reckless and irresponsible. It's one thing for the crossbench to do this, it's completely another thing for an alternative government and an alternative prime minister to specifically sponsor unsafe drugs in unregulated quantities that could be diverted for criminal purposes.
Thank you very much.