ADJOURNMENT Australian Capital Territory Government, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation


Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory): Before I talk about some great charities and local issues, I want to quickly reflect on the vote we had earlier today to establish this ridiculous inquiry into the Queensland government. I think it is an interesting precedent and I want to reflect on it for a moment. Now that Labor and the Greens support the inquiry, it will be interesting to see whether or not there will be those kinds of inquiries in the future. I imagine some of my South Australian colleagues would not mind seeing an inquiry into the South Australian Labor government. In the ACT we have a Labor/Greens government. There are many things that could be looked at with this ACT Labor/Greens government, such as the scandalous waste of $800 million on a light- rail line that no-one is going to use, and their plan to triple everybody's rates. There are other issues, too. We have seen the doctoring of hospital data. Someone might want to get to the bottom of that—12,000 records were doctored under the watch of this government. There is a range of things. I think a very interesting precedent has been set.

 

 

Interestingly, the principle of comity, which may be ruled on by the High Court, would of course not apply in the ACT's case, given that the ACT is a territory under section 122 of the Constitution. I will just put that on the record in terms of the new-found interest of the Labor Party and the Greens in investigating other governments.

 

But I would like to speak about some other issues. Last year I had the honour of opening the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's 'Walk for a Cure' around Lake Burley Griffin. This year I am taking it up a notch and signing up for their 'Ride for a Cure', which will be held in January in South Australia. I do not yet own a bike, but I thought if I signed up that would force me to buy a bike and start training. I am very much looking forward to it. The Barossa is an attractive venue, but in the middle of January I understand that it can get quite hot. I am looking forward to that.

 

I was honoured to be the first ACT patron for JDRF. It is certainly a cause that is close to my heart. There are 122,300 Australians with Type I diabetes, with six new cases diagnosed every day. Type I diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease amongst Australian children.

 

JDRF does an amazing job supporting children and their families. It was established in 1970 and coordinates global research strategically at a local level. We are the worldwide leader in funding research to cure, treat and prevent type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults and last a lifetime. At a local level, I have witnessed the fantastic work that they do. I would like to briefly recognise Mel Eveille, the ACT development coordinator, for all the work she does to raise awareness and much-needed funds.

 

There are a number of   ways   that   people   can get involved in supporting this great organisation. Throughout the rest of this year, there are Walk to Cure events happening across the country. In Canberra, there will be the Walk to Cure on Sunday 26 October down at the lake. As mentioned, we have the Ride to Cure from 16 to 18 January. I would encourage senators and members of the community to get behind this. Information can be found at JDRF.org.au.

 

Last Friday, I was honoured to represent the Assistant Minister for Defence, the honourable Stuart Robert MP, at the launch of the Defence Long Ride at the Australian War Memorial. I was joined by the head of the ADF, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin; the ACT Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Hanson; and the director of the War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson—amongst others. The ride is aimed at increasing the public awareness and Defence support to raise awareness and funds to combat prostate cancer in Australian men. The ride is travelling to Uluru over the next few weeks and is one of the biggest motorcycling events of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Last year, they raised over $250,000 and they hoped to break that record this year.

 

Prostate cancer has traditionally been a cancer that we do not talk about. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia data indicates that one in five men is likely to develop prostate cancer by the age of 85. On this basis, thousands of the current Defence workforce could be affected by prostate cancer during their lives, as well as those in the wider community. Approximately 20,000 Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. More than 3,300 Australian men die as a direct result of prostate cancer annually.

 

 

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and also reversing these growing numbers. The goal of the PCFA is to reduce the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men, their partners, their families and their community and to represent the interests of all Australian men diagnosed with prostate cancer. I commend all those involved, particularly those involved in the Long Ride.