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:…/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:

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.

Senate Swearing In

This morning I was sworn in as a Senator for Tasmania for another six-year term.

I am honoured to have again been chosen by Tasmanian voters to represent them in the Senate. I am looking forward to continuing to work as part of the Federal Labor team on delivering for Tasmania, holding the Morrison Government to account and developing a positive Labor agenda for the next Federal election.

I will continue to provide practical assistance to my local constituents and community groups.

I also intend to keep pursuing the national causes that I have been active in promoting, and which I believe are important to many Australians:
● More investment in research into brain cancer and other cancers with low-survival rates,
● Better co-ordinated care for cancer patients,
More investment in palliative and end-of-life care, including community education about the importance of advance care planning,
● Better public awareness of how women can reduce the risks of stillbirth during pregnancy,
● Providing children with greater safety from abuse and harm, particularly in the online environment,
● Bringing our charity fundraising laws into the 21st Century, and
● More investment in early childhood education.

Labor Budget Reply

Last night, Bill Shorten MP delivered Labor’s Budget Reply.

While Scott Morrison and the Liberals are focused on the election, Labor is focused on the future. We have chosen hope over fear, the future over the past, to prioritise schools and hospitals over the big banks.

As a longstanding advocate for cancer patients, a cancer survivor, Cure Brain Cancer Ambassador, co-convenor of Parliament’s Brain Cancer and Tumour Action Group, and former chair of the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates, I am especially pleased with Labor’s commitment to deliver the biggest cancer care package in Australia’s history.

Australians battling cancer should be able to focus on getting well without going broke.

A Shorten Labor Government will:
– eliminate out-of-pocket costs for up to six million scans for cancer services;
– provide three million free consultations with oncologists and surgeons for cancer patients; and
– list any drug recommended for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Other highlights from last night’s budget reply include:
– The most important investment in Medicare since Bob Hawke created it.
– The same or better tax cuts for 10 million working Australians.
– A massive new investment in TAFE, to rebuild campuses and restore the 150,000 apprenticeships that have been lost under the Liberals.

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Adjournment debate – Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program

As a former early childhood educator I understand and appreciate the value of early learning to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development. It also helps parents to balance work and family commitments and contributes to Australia’s competitiveness in the global economy.

Last night in the Senate I spoke about Federal Labor’s commitment to deliver 15 hours per week of preschool or kindergarten to 700,000 three- and four-year old Australian children if we win government. Our $1.75 billion National Preschool and Kindy Program will be a record investment in early childhood education in Australia.

This is in contrast to the Morrison Government, who in the 2018 budget cut funding to the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, and only reinstated it in last night’s budget for one year.

A Fair Go For Schools

This morning I stood on the lawns of Parliament amongst a sea of names of public schools that have had their funding cut by this uncaring Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.

Labor will fully restore the $14 billion the Liberals have cut from public schools. To find out how much your school will receive visit

Thanks to the AEU for organising this display. Continue reading