Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today – 15 October 2020 – marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Every year Australian families suffer over 2,000 stillbirths and over 100,000 miscarriages.

I am proud to have participated in the Senate inquiry into Stillbirth Research and Education along with my Labor colleagues Kristina Keneally and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – Northern Territory, both of whom have continued to be strong advocates for parents of stillborn babies.

As a parent of a stillborn baby my participation in the inquiry was a painful reminder of my own tragedy yet a necessary contribution to public policy.The inquiry made important recommendations for reducing the rate of stillbirth in Australia and improving support for parents. Many of the inquiry’s recommendations remain unimplemented and this national crisis requires more attention and action from the Government.

If you know someone who is grieving the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death please encourage them to contact one of the following organisations: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Australiahttps://www.pregnancylossaustralia.org.au/Stillbirth Foundation Australiahttps://stillbirthfoundation.org.au/Sands Australiahttps://www.sands.org.au/The Compassionate Friends Victoria Inc. (also covering Tasmania) – https://www.compassionatefriendsvictoria.org.au/

Public Service Announcement

To minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 I will be putting the following measures in place until further notice:

– From Monday, 23 March only two staff will be working in my office at any given time. Other staff will be working from home.

– Staffing restrictions may cause a delay to community printing requests. If you email a printing request to Leanne please also Cc Daniel (daniel.hulme@aph.gov.au).

– No events or meetings will take place in the office board room.

– No constituents will be allowed beyond the reception area unless specifically authorised by me. Anyone given permission to enter the office will be asked to sanitise their hands before and after entering.

While I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, these measures are in place to protect the health and safety of my staff and the general public. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Just for a reminder – here are some basic steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases (see image below).

Seafood Industry Australia Pledge

Tonight Senator Carol Brown and I signed the pledge committing to putting the best Australian seafood on our table.

It is important we do this in a way that actively cares for Australia’s oceans and environment and work with others to do the same.

Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020

The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) brings together national parliamentarians from across the Asia-Pacific region to encourage and promote regional co-operation on matters of common concern to member countries.

The 28th meeting of the APPF is being held this year at our own National Parliament in Canberra (Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Canberra 2020).

As part of the Australian delegation, I was pleased to address the conference in support of Australia’s resolution on promoting cultural diversity and tourism.

I have enjoyed meeting other delegates from across the Asia-Pacific, discussing our shared interests, concerns and aspirations for the region, and helping further develop inter-country relations.

Kids Cancer Project

Today The Kids’ Cancer Project came to Parliament to highlight the fact that 950 Australian kids are diagnosed with cancer every year. They decorated the lawn of Parliament House with paper dolls to represent each of these children.

One project my colleague Senator Carol Brown and I are particularly interested in is the 2017 Kids Cancer Project announcement for the Royal Hobart Hospital. The commitment of $140,000 to assist with the establishment of a state wide Children’s and Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital will assist many Tasmanian children with cancer. They recently recommitted the funding for a further 3 years.

Thanks to Dr Fraser from the Queensland Children’s Hospital for informing me about some of the challenges of treating children’s cancers.

Morrison Government’s refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of their cuts

I am absolutely appalled at the Morrison Government’s refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of their cuts to, and mismanagement of, the NDIS.

There should not be lengthy delays to the finalisation of participants’ plans.

There should not be inconsistencies in assessments from one year to the next.

Getting a decent outcome should not depend on the advocacy of people like me and my Parliamentary colleagues.

This is an outrage.

Soul Harvest Gospel Choir

I had an opportunity to listen to the Soul Harvest Gospel Choir Vanuatu singing in Parliament House today.

They have been in Australia for several weeks, performing at the Desert Song Festival in Central Australia.

Exchanges of arts and culture like this brings nations together.

It was quite uplifting to hear the combination of songs written specifically about Australia and Vanuatu’s relationship as well as traditional Vanuatu songs.

Today I met with four of UNICEF Australia’s Young Ambassadors – Ash, Lachlan, Steve and Indi.

They’ve spent the last year talking face-to-face to 1,500 young Australians to find out their concerns.

These young Australians have a real passion for shaping the future of Australia and it was fascinating to listen to their experiences.

From their research, they’ve produced the 2019 Young Ambassador Report.

The report outlines 5 key areas of concern young people raised with them: Wellbeing; Safety; Learning; Equality; and The Environment.

If you would like to find out more, you can read a copy of the report here: https://www.unicef.org.au/…/A-Climate-for-Change-Young-Amba…

R U OK Day – Mates in Construction

This R U OK Day I was pleased to show my support for MATES in Construction.

In Australia around 190 people working in the construction industry take their own lives-that’s one every two days.
Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

This organisation is seeking to reduce the high rates of suicide in the building and construction industries.

More information on MATES is available here: http://matesinconstruction.org.au

Merck Australia meeting

At Parliament House I was pleased to catch up with Stephen Coutts of Richardson Coutts, and Paul Lindsay from Merck Australia, and receive an update on Merck’s new medicine for Merkel Cell Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer, and for Multiple Sclerosis.

I am always glad to learn about developments that will help people with severe medical conditions live a more stress-free life.