Senator Catryna Bilyk eBulletin #43
Monday, 30 October 2017
Due to recent surgery I have been out of action for a couple of weeks but I am back into the swing of things. I am looking forward to being cleared to drive again (and fly to Parliament!)
Thanks to all the people who have sent messages, flowers, cards, food and well wishes! My recovery is going according to plan.
$100 million for brain cancer research
As a brain cancer survivor, and an advocate for many years for serious action on brain cancer research, I am delighted with the recent announcement that a $100 million Australian Brain Cancer Mission fund will be established to improve brain cancer survival.
The fund will include a $50 million contribution from the Australian Government, with matching contributions from philanthropic organisations, including $20 million from Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, for which I have raised over $100,000.
As a lone voice in Parliament for many years, I have argued that brain cancer deserves special attention because of its low survival rate. Brain cancer kills more young Australians aged 18-40 than any other cancer and is the number one disease killer of Australian children!
Only one in five brain cancer patients survive for five years after their diagnosis. This survival rate has barely improved in more than three decades, yet we know from experience that the combination of funding and a strategic approach to research has made a significant difference in improving the survival rates of other forms of cancer.
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is one of the key organisations contributing to the Australian Brain Cancer Mission.
Estimates wrap-up – Cash must go
Employment Minister Senator Michaelia Cash faced scrutiny in Senate Estimates after it was revealed she had mislead the Senate five times about her office tipping off the media about the Australian Federal Police raids on the offices of the Australian Workers Union. We know now that it was a staff member in the Minister’s office who alerted the media that the raids were about to take place.
Instead of taking responsibility for her unacceptable interference in this investigation, Minister Cash has let the staffer take the fall for her.
It is incredible that one of the first acts of the Government’s new Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) would be to investigate a publicly disclosed political donation from ten years ago, and to order a raid to seize documents that have already been provided to the Trade Union Royal Commission.
This is the kind of behaviour we have come to expect from a Government that is willing to go to any lengths to smash the union movement, which stands in the way of their campaign to destroy the rights and conditions of working Australians.
This incident follows Minister Cash’s defence of Nigel Hadgkiss, the disgraced former boss of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), who admitted to unlawfully breaching the Fair Work Act—the very legislation he was charged with upholding.
Other discoveries Labor made during Senate Estimates last week included:
Walk4BrainCancer – six days to go
- The Chief Medical Officer knew nothing about a request to fast-track the meningococcal B vaccine, despite Health Minister Greg Hunt telling the Sunday Telegraph it was “being considered by the Medical Officer”.
- 55 million calls to Centrelink received a busy signal, almost double the 29 million calls from the year before.
- Despite the Government crowing about $4 billion of additional revenue from a crackdown on multinational tax dodging, not a single cent was due to the Government’s weak multinational tax avoidance laws.
With six days to go until Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania we have over 130 people registered for the walk and more than $13,000 raised. If you want to participate in the walk it is not too late to do so and you can register online here. You can also register in person on the day.
If you can’t make it to the walk but want to give a donation, please sponsor me online here.
Remember – brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease.
Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN mess continues
It is incredible that, after four years in Government, Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals cannot take responsibility for the mess they have made of Australia’s biggest infrastructure project. The Turnbull Government’s many National Broadband Network failures were laid bare in an excellent report by the ABC’s Four Corners program, which follows the highly damning first report of Parliament’s NBN Committee.
It appears that Malcolm Turnbull is delivering on the instructions Tony Abbott gave him back in 2010 to ‘demolish’ the NBN. This year, Australians have learnt that:
- According to figures from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, complaints about the NBN rose by 160% in 2016-17 on the previous reporting period.
- Many households in the footprint of Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN rollout are not receiving the promised speeds, and in some cases are paying more for slower speeds than their existing ADSL services.
- The Government has trashed the NBN business model so badly that it may have to write off the project, adding billions of dollars to Australia’s debt and deficit.
A myriad of complaints were voiced by over 100 people who attended Labor’s NBN forum in Howrah.
Christmas Gift Drive
When doing your Christmas shopping this year, spare a thought for those who cannot afford the Christmas that most of us take for granted.
It is for those less fortunate members of our community that I launched my annual Christmas gift drive in support of local charity, Kingborough Helping Hands, during Anti-Poverty Week (15-21 October 2017).
Donated gifts can be dropped off at my office in Kingston Plaza, and while we often receive many generous gifts for children I encourage members of the community to donate gifts suitable for teenagers, who often get overlooked.
Kingborough Helping Hands also accepts cash donations. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
Once again I have launched the annual gift drive in support of Kingborough Helping Hands run by Edna Pennicott and an army of volunteers. Among KHH’s many great deeds is the annual distribution of Christmas gifts to families in need.
DonateLife Thank You Day
In recognition of DonateLife’s Thank You Day an afternoon tea and information session is being held in Kingston to discuss the importance of organ and tissue donation:
3.00pm, Sunday 19 November 2017
St Clement’s Anglican Church Community Centre
corner of Channel Highway and Beach Road, Kingston
At the event, I will be introducing:
Light refreshments will be provided.
- Jane Wells, Donation Specialist Nursing Coordinator, DonateLife Tasmania, to speak about organ and tissue donation in Australia; and
- Martina McArdle, Heart and Lung Transplant Trust Victoria to launch The Carer: Partnering a Transplant Recipient by Laura and Carey Denholm. Copies will be available for $15.00 (cash only) with all proceeds donated to the Trust.
To register your attendance contact Laura on 0437 392 172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still no agreement with states and territories on redress scheme
As co-convenor of Parliamentarians Against Child Abuse and Neglect (PACAN) and a fierce advocate for the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, I am disappointed at the amount of time it has taken for the Turnbull Government to act on establishing a redress scheme.
We are a long way from seeing a redress scheme in place, even though the Royal Commission recommended the scheme be operational by July this year.
Despite Minister Porter introducing legislation into the Parliament on Thursday last week, two years after the Royal Commission handed down its recommendations, there is still no agreement from the states and territories, and survivors are none the wiser as to whether they will get redress, and from whom.
Men and women who, as children, suffered the most horrific abuse deserve better than this.