Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (11:06): I am pleased to rise very quickly. I actually have been giving this some thought, because certainly Dr Cumming has had this motion on the paper for some time. It has been an issue that has been around. With therapeutic medicines I think we have all spoken about the benefits of them and where people have found benefits. I know that I have been reading a lot about vitamin D in regard to protection around respiratory infections, for example, particularly given the pandemic that we are experiencing now.
However, we have got eight inquiries going at the moment. There are eight reports that have to be done before 21 June, and this inquiry would be to report before 21 June. I know that the committee staff are actually 1.5 members down at the moment, and that is over four committees, so we are really, really stretched. The motion seeks to set up a select committee. I pushed for a select committee on COVID, and that to me is the type of thing that you should have a select committee on—something that is urgent, something that is happening now.
I am really interested in this, because I do think that we need to be looking at the snake oil that is being sold at the moment to people who are unwell. We need to be addressing that. We need to ensure that regulation, but we also need to ensure the safety of it, and a lot of that is done federally through the TGA. We have seen things like cannabidiol—CBD—going through that process right now. We are seeing the recognition of medicinal cannabis by traditional medical practitioners. We are seeing things like mindfulness now being recognised for the benefits of it and, as Ms Shing mentioned, the health benefits of a variety of foods.
So I understand this. However, I just do not feel like I can say yes to a select committee when there are so many other reports going on, including Dr Cumming’s own report on air quality in the west. I have got three reports—homelessness, cannabis and sex offenders—and I just feel that if we were to set up this select committee, we would be taking away from the committees that exist today.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Motion by Dr Cumming 16/10/20