I wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of so many people who have taken part in this debate on the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486) Bill 2005. Although this debate has been proceeding for the last couple of months, people have been raising these issues within the community for around 10 years. This chamber has finally been able to take the time and to use the Senate processes to consider the evidence and the submissions before coming up with a result-a result which many of us will accept . We will accept the removal of an 'aberration'-the term that was used in discussion about previous debates-however, the debate will not end. I think I said that earlier. We have gone through the process of an assessment of this group of drugs. We hope that the bill will pass through the lower house and that the TGA's role in respect of this group of drugs will be as the body that looks at the safety, efficacy and quality of this medication, as with all others in our community. It is important for us to acknowledge that.
We must accept the hard work of people on both sides of the argument. We sometimes simplify way too much. There was a range of views expressed in this process and, as Senator Barnett said, people had the opportunity to 'dig deep'. They were your words, Senator Barnett. We were able to look very clearly at the evidence and to come up with a process. I want to thank all those people who took the time and were able to rise above differences and withstand some sometimes very personal attacks. We were able to do that. I particularly want to acknowledge the work of the co-sponsors. I think that as a group it showed that people can work together if they have a common aim and can share their knowledge and experience to ensure that we can work to achieve results for the community. So thank you; we have an opportunity to achieve great change.
09 February, 2006