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.

Ukraine Independance 26th Anniversary

The Ukrainian community have made a long contribution to our nation. In fact the first Ukrainian migrant to Australian arrived in 1788.

I was pleased to celebrate the 26th Anniversary of Ukrainian independence last night. It was lovely to meet so many local Ukrainian-Australians.

Thank you to H.E. Dr Mykola Kulinich, the Ambassador for Ukraine, for inviting me along as Deputy Chair of the Australian-Ukraine Parliamentary group.

Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations

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Save Australian Shipping comes to Parliament House

Today I met with Australian Seafarers outside Parliament House.

They’ve come to Canberra as part of the Maritime Union of Australia – MUA’s campaign to Save Australian Shipping.

Shipping plays an important economic and strategic role in the operation of the Australian economy as we are the fourth largest shipping task in the world.

You can support their campaign by heading along to