Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO OVARIAN CANCER AUSTRALIA’S TEAL RIBBON PARLIAMENTARY BREAKFAST - CANBERRA - WEDNESDAY, 13 FEBRUARY

 

 

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
 
This is my sixth Teal Ribbon Breakfast and every time we hear someone speak, we just realise that a lot of the rubbish we carry on with in this place just pales into insignificance. So, thank you very much for what I've heard today.
 
I acknowledge the Prime Minister has had to go, I acknowledge Catherine King, our health spokesperson and Tanya Plibersek. And in fact, all of the members of parliament who are here: Julie Bishop, Kelly O'Dwyer and everyone.
 
This is the first week of the parliamentary year, it's the early stages of the election cycle. There'll be plenty of arguments and debates here. 
 
But I think that a moment like this does remind us, and your humility reminds us, that are there are a lot of big things going on and that loving your family and making sure that your health is intact is really fundamental to everything else.
 
I want to share a secret: I hate cancer, I hate cancer in all forms. My mother battled it, my precious cousin has battled it, friends have battled it. 
 
I've stood by the bedside of Paula, when you battled it. I've seen how much that rocked not just you but your precious husband as well. 
 
I think of friends who've died and in one case from ovarian cancer, diagnosed and, within 18 months, gone.
 
And I've since seen my friend's wife's children and they've grown up in that time. Twelve and fourteen years older than they were then and one of them has become a lawyer and another one has got married and got kids. And it isn't fair that they've never met a grandmother who's just an outstanding person. 
 
So I hate cancer.
 
I accept that it's scary. You know, sometimes a really good speaker can give you the gift of trying to stand in the shoes of the speaker. And I couldn't stand in your shoes but you gave us that insight and it's just scary.
 
So that's why I was listening very carefully to what was said today and we welcome the government's announcements about breast care nurses. 
 
I think there's more we can do with our nurses and cancer in other areas.
 
But the loudest message I picked up this morning, and I wouldn't dare not deal with before I sit down, is the question of research.
 
I get that we're capable of resolving these matters with enough resources, so I'm very pleased that we'll reaffirm the pledge which Labor has made.
 
But I accept - and I wrote your words down - "we want a bigger share". And I’m going to come to that in a moment.  
 
I am pleased to say if my colleagues and I have the privilege to serve as the next government of Australia, we will provide $12 million to Ovarian Cancer Australia's national action plan. 
 
This will help create a National Ovarian Cancer Registry, track diagnosis and treatment and help coordinate research. 
 
We want to boost Australia's world-class bio-specimen initiative to improve the focus on prevention as well as cure and treatment. 
 
It would fund three clinical trials for treatment. 
 
And of course, it would be very important in that work of contacting people and getting them tested for the BRCA gene. 
 
But I heard what you said about a bigger share - and the best way to have a bigger share is to have a bigger pie. 
 
I make this promise to you: we want to see more money spent on healthcare. 
 
That's not saying that people haven't tried to do this stuff in the past, but I accept the challenge you made to me. And that's what I thought the conversation really was: if you're fair dinkum, then we should put more money into it. That, of course, will allow for a bigger share.
 
The idea that different types of cancer have to compete for scarce resources isn't really the model that I think Australians want from our health system.
 
So I'm committed and I'm going to go away with my capable colleagues and start working out how we can create a bigger share for all, including your cancer and your cancer research.
 
Again, I'll just finish on this. 
 
There'll be lots debated today, some very furiously and some people putting a lot of energy into it.
 
I have no doubt that in this week, the two speeches I heard that are most important were the two that immediately preceded me this morning.
 
Thank you for telling truth. Thank you for being so brave. 
 
Thank you for actually helping some of us be less scared - because being scared isn’t what ultimately matters, it is what you do about it. 
 
So thank you very much, have a lovely morning. 


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