Source: Craig Kelly
Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (17:37): Thank you, Deputy Speaker Freelander. I’m pleased that you’re in the chair while I make a contribution to this debate. Firstly, I’d note for anyone watching a recording of this, that I’m speaking in the Australian federal parliament, and my speech here is protected by the Parliamentary Privileges Act, which goes back to the UK Bill of Rights 1688. I have free speech to say what I’m about to say. It should not be impeached or questioned outside of this parliament, for to do so is a breach of our Parliamentary Privileges Act.
In relation to the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill, I note that the member for Chifley has moved an amendment, and that is:
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
‘whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:
(1) notes the jobs and economic growth generated from a robust innovation ecosystem; and
(2) condemns the Coalition Government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation, particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic.’
I rise in support of the member for Chifley’s bill. I note in his comments he also says that Australia is home to many incredible companies and firms, but our innovative ideas languish with one of the lowest start-up formation rates in the world. We’ve got to be more ambitious. We’ve got to commit ourselves to bringing more great Australian ideas to the global market. I’d like to give an example of that and also give an example of why I support the member for Chifley’s amendment.
In April last year, Monash University conducted a study which they have published the results of. I’d like to quote directly from Monash University’s press release:
A collaborative study led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, has shown that an anti-parasitic drug already available around the world kills the virus within 48 hours.
The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, said the scientists showed that the drug, Ivermectin, stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.
“We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it,” Dr Wagstaff said.
Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective—that’s the next step …
Of course I’m sure that you, Mr Deputy Speaker Freelander, more than anyone knows that something being tested in vitro, in a test tube, is a long, long way from showing effectiveness in humans.
After the discovery of Australia’s Dr Wagstaff, Australia’s internationally renowned Professor Borody, a physician with four—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Freelander ): Order!
Mr CRAIG KELLY: You’ve got to be kidding me!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Fenner on a point of order.
Mr Craig Kelly: You’ve seriously got to be kidding me!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
Dr Leigh: Deputy Speaker, it is essential to the dignity of the House that we debate the matters before us. The second reading amendment is narrow in its focus on the industry aspects of the pandemic. It doesn’t allow the member to speak about ivermectin, a drug which the Therapeutic Goods Administration has asked Australians not to use and has suggested not be imported for the purposes of dealing with COVID. Questions such as these are clearly outside the issues that are before the House. The member has many other opportunities to raise questions such as this. He might make a 90-second statement, he might speak in the adjournment—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I think the appropriate action is to request that the member be relevant.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: On the relevance rule, let’s be very clear what this amendment says. It says:
… condemns the Coalition Government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation, particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic …
That is exactly what I am speaking about. You come into this chamber and want to silence debate on one of the most important issues ever to face our country. Shame on you down there at the desk, Member for Fenner or wherever you’re from! It is absolutely crystal clear that what I am debating is directly relevant to this bill. How dare you stand up and try to silence debate in the House because of some ideological view that you may have! I am directly talking about the government’s continued failure to back Australian industry and innovation and I am talking about an Australian innovation that we have let slip through our fingers. That’s what I have been talking about, which is directly 100 per cent relevant to this bill.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Fenner on a point of order.
Dr Leigh: I raise a point of order, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the point of order?
Dr Leigh: Relevance. The question here is not the efficacy of ivermectin, which Anthony Fauci has warned against and the Therapeutic Goods Administration has warned against; it is the member’s need to be relevant to matters before the House. He can debate this in other forums.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I remind the honourable member he is still bound by the rules of the parliament. We are not having a debate.
Mr Pitt: That was the point I was about to make. Far be it from me to get involved; however, a point of order on relevance has already been made and, of course, you can’t debate at the box; it’s simply to make the point.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would remind the member to please be relevant. You’re not here to grandstand; you’re here to deliver a speech about a bill. Thank you.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Consistent with your ruling, I will continue to talk about Australian innovation, and with that, under the rules of this House, I’m absolutely 100 per cent entitled to cite an example, and that is what I am doing, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have cited an example and now it’s now time to move on. Thank you.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: I firstly cited the example—I started, before I was interrupted—of Dr Kylie Wagstaff from Monash University, who discovered that ivermectin kills COVID stone cold dead in a test tube. I then went on to talk about Australia’s research and innovation with Australia’s Professor Tom Borody, someone with experience in innovation and research, an internationally regarded physician with four FDA approved drugs on the US and Australian markets, who is famous for developing the triple therapy that cured peptic ulcers, saving more than 18,000 lives just in Australia and millions internationally. Professor Borody understands about innovation. He understands about what it is to work in Australian industry and develop an idea and take it through to the marketplace. That is exactly what we are talking about.
Now, what did Professor Borody say following Dr Wagstaff’s discoveries? He said that the combination of three approved off-the-shelf drugs could be the answer to Australia’s COVID crisis. He said—and I quote directly:
If nothing else, make it available in aged care homes immediately.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I remind the member to be relevant. This has no relevance to the bill at hand.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: With the greatest respect, Deputy Speaker, this bill is called the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021. There is an amendment before the House and that amendment ‘condemns the coalition government for its continued failure to back Australian industry innovation, particularly to deal with the challenges arising from the pandemic,’ and that is precisely what I’m talking about. I’m talking precisely about the amendment and I’m precisely giving an example of what the amendment moved by the opposition talks about. So I will continue. Professor Borody said:
If nothing else, make it available in aged care homes immediately. Our elderly are at the highest risk and this is a very safe—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! A point of order, Member for Fenner?
Dr Leigh: Deputy Speaker, the question is not about Professor Borody’s views, which have been repudiated by the Royal Australian College of GPs.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: You are debating the issue—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What’s the point of order?
Dr Leigh: It is about the member’s ability to be relevant to the bill at hand. And, if he cannot be relevant—
Mr CRAIG KELLY: You cannot.
Dr Leigh: you should sit him down. If he continues to defy your ruling, you should sit him down. He has other channels of this parliament in which he can pursue these issues.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I will allow the member to continue, but I do remind him to be relevant. I do have the ability to stop him from speaking. I don’t want to do that—I make that quite clear. I respect your rights to express your opinion, but you must stay relevant to the bill, and continuing on this subject I don’t consider to be relevant.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: I appreciate your ruling, Deputy Speaker. I will continue to be relevant to the amendment that is before the House, and I will state that amendment again. The amendment moved by the opposition ‘condemns the coalition government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation’, and I am talking about Australian innovation. I’m giving an example of Australian innovation. The amendment further says, ‘particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic’. The words I am saying could not be more relevant to the amendment.
I’ll continue from where I was interrupted. Professor Borody said, when he was talking about innovation and how he was trying to innovate here in Australia—which is exactly what we are debating here:
Also, our frontline workers deserve more protection with a preventative medication like this, and as an emergency treatment if they test positive.
An ivermectin tablet can cost as little as $2—which could make it by far the cheapest, safest, and fastest cure for Australians and the Australian economy.
How have we missed the boat? This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Australian innovation. This could have been known as the Australian treatment around the world. Just have a look at some of the success it has had around the world. We’ve all seen the stories out of India, of how terribly COVID has affected India. The state of Uttar Pradesh has a population of 230 million. The chief minister, Yogi Adityanath—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: A point of order, again?
Mr CRAIG KELLY: This is beyond a joke! The interruptions are beyond a joke! This is a deliberate attempt to silence a debate.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Let me hear the member for Fenner. I believe he has a point of order.
Dr Leigh: I do, on relevance. This is not a question of ivermectin, which the Centre for Disease Control has warned against and the Australian Department of Health has warned against; it is the member’s ability to be relevant the bill. If he can’t do that, you should sit him down. You ask him these things but he doesn’t change his behaviour at all.
Mr Pitt: As the honourable member would know, he’s not able to debate at the box on a point of order—just to make the point of order.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I don’t think there is room for debate about the issues that the member for Hughes is raising. He’s entitled to put his point of view. He’s as relevant as I suspect he is going to be. I’d like him to continue.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: In the 40 seconds I have left, I will try and wrap up. It was the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh that looked at Australian innovation and industry, and took notice of Professor Borody. And what did they do? From having a daily case rate of 35,000, by using Borody’s ivermectin treatment—an innovation discovered in Australia—they have their seven-day case average down to 19 and their seven-day death average down to just two people, with six to seven per cent vaccinated. This is a disgrace. The conduct of the member at the desk during this debate— (Time expired)