Funding into Research of Cancers with Low Survival Rates Report

“There should have been other treatments options. There were none. We must do better.”

This is how one witness described the experience of his wife being diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma. It is an experience that the Committee into Low Survival Cancers heard time and time again.

Because low survival cancers kill thousands of Australians every year.

Despite being less prevalent than other cancers, survival rates for these cancers are below 50%, and for some like brain cancers, around 20%, or even lower.
For many of these cancers treatment options are limited. For others, there are none.

We must do better.

After twelve months, seven public hearings and over 300 submissions, today I tabled the final report of the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates.

I am proud to have chaired this Committee. The Committee has made 25 recommendations that we hope will improve survival rates for those diagnosed with these cancers.

We have called for an action plan to improve the survival rate of low survival rate cancers to more than 50% by 2027.

We have also recommended that the National Health and Medical Research Council consider identifying low survival rate cancers in its next corporate plan.

I hope the government takes action on these recommendations. For too long not enough has been done.

For a copy of the full report visit:…/Fund…/FundingResearchCancers/Report

Relaunch of the Australian-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group

I was pleased to relaunch the Australian-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group last night. As Deputy Chair I look forward to continuing my long association with this group and the Ukrainian Community to develop closer relations between our two countries.

Good to have representatives of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, Chair Chris Crewther and the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the event.

I am pleased that the Government and Opposition have a strong bipartisan commitment to Australia’s relationship with Ukraine, including our determination to bring to justice the perpetrators of the MH17 attack.

Thank you to Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations for acknowledging my commitment to Australia-Ukraine relations as Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group.

I am pleased to accept this award in memory of my late father-in-law, John Bilyk, who was born in Ukraine.

Olivia Newton-John Speaks at Australian Parliament’s Brain Cancer and Tumour Awareness Group

It was a pleasure to have Australian actress and entertainer Olivia Newton-John visit Parliament to meet with a range of people including members of the Australian Parliament’s Brain Cancer and Tumour Awareness Group (BC&TAG) and hear about her battle with breast cancer and her sister’s battle with brain cancer.

I was particularly pleased to learn of the excellent work being done by the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, which is working to translate scientific discovery into new, better cancer treatments.

Fast-Tracking Cancer Research Through the Power of Smart Phones

As Chair of the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival rates I was excited to receive a breakfast briefing from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Vodafone Foundation on fast-tracking cancer research through the power of smart phones.

100,000 users have so far downloaded an app which uses the processing power of smart phones while they are idle to process big data for precision cancer research, making up for the Institute’s limited access to supercomputers.

Users can download the app from the Google Play store at

The Vodafone Foundation is working to make the app available for iPhone.