Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania 2019

250+ participants joined together yesterday to make the sixth annual Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania a resounding success. The weather gods smiled on us and the rain held off until shortly after the walk concluded.

With additional funds collected through registrations on the day, merchandise sales, raffle ticket sales and cash donations the total so far is $28,387.35. As usual we will keep the online page open for further donations for the next week before announcing the final total. These funds will go to Cure Brain Cancer to help with advocacy, raising awareness and funding vital research into new brain cancer treatments.

But the walk was a success for more reasons than just the fundraising. Many people feel an emotional connection to this event, as it has given them an opportunity to pay tribute to loved ones who have died of brain cancer. It helps raise public awareness of the disease, and brings people touched by brain cancer together as a community united for a common cause.

I have many people to thank and I hope I don’t miss anybody!

Firstly to our sponsors – Top of The Town BakeryWoolworthsPennicott Wilderness JourneysTassal Tasmanian SalmonBunnings Warehouse AustraliaJulie Collins MPMarguerite GoninonChoices Flooring KingstonState Cinema & Cristy Bishop Remedial Massage Therapies.

Thank you to the Hobart Chapter #314 Order of the Eastern Star and Derwent Valley Masonic Lodge for your phenomenal fundraising efforts over the past 12 months.

Thank you to the Kingborough Council for your incredible support, and to the Dru point reserve kiosk and St John Ambulance Australia Tasmania for your contributions. Thank you to Triple M Hobart for including us in your community calendar and to Nightly News 7 Tasmania for (sadly) being the only TV news station to cover the walk this year.

Thanks Sigrid Denehey (Sigrid Coad) for your very touching memorial address and Fiona Hutchison – entertainer for the musical entertainment (and especially for turning up despite being unwell).

Thank you to Cure Brain Cancer for all your great work raising awareness, advocating and funding research, and to the lovely Annabelle Wilson from CBC for coming down to support the event. Looking forward to seeing your daughter Primrose at next year’s walk!

A big thank you to my staff and the army of volunteers who helped out on the day and to everyone who bought and sold raffle tickets, bought merchandise, registered, walked, fundraised and made donations. Your support has been overwhelming.

There is a big movement of people in Tasmania touched by brain cancer who are getting to their feet and taking action to combat this terrible disease. Over the past six years your efforts have helped me raise over $185,000 – enough for a small clinical trial. Keep walking, keep fighting and keep believing that we will one day find a cure.

Hobart City Mission’s Annual General Meeting

I was delighted to attend Hobart City Mission‘s Annual General Meeting. The charity has been providing assistance to Tasmanians in need since 1852.

HCM celebrated a successful year in which they tripled the funds raised from their winter appeal which, sadly, was also met with a dramatic increase in demand for their services.

The meeting also acknowledged the incredible contribution of Robin Errey, who retired from the board after 46 years of service!

An insightful panel session on housing and homeless was held after the meeting featuring HCM’s CEO John Stubley, CEO of Shelter Tasmania Patti Chugg and Don McCrae from The Salvation Army Tasmania.

Thank you to Hobart City Mission for the wide range of services you offer to Tasmanians in need. Your work is invaluable.

Li-Ve Tasmania Annual General Meeting

Li-VeTasmania celebrated another successful year at their Annual General Meeting today. The organisation has a strategic plan to grow to twice the size in five years while staying true to its culture and values.

Congratulations to Chair Sue Leitch, CEO Paul Byrne and all the other staff and volunteers for your ongoing excellence in service to Tasmanians with disability.

It was great to catch up with Mat Blunt from Eastside Lutheran College, and his son Archie. The college was acknowledged for their assistance to Li-Ve Tasmania and for providing a venue for the fundraising events run by the fabulous Acorn Branch.

Outgoing directors and life members were also acknowledged for their service.

$5620 raised for Cure Brain Cancer

A huge thank you to the Hobart Chapter #314 Order of the Eastern Star, with assistance from the Derwent Valley Masonic Lodge for raising an incredible $5,620 for Cure Brain Cancer.

These funds will be included in the total for Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania 2019 and will help efforts to raise awareness of brain cancer, lobby for government action and invest in life-saving brain cancer research.

As a Cure Brain Cancer Ambassador, I was pleased to attend a meeting of the Chapter to receive a cheque on behalf of the organisation. A number of members told stories about the experiences of friends and loved ones with brain cancer, which demonstrates how many Australians’ lives this disease touches.

Brain Cancer remains the biggest cancer killer of young Australians and kills more children than any other disease. The Order of the Eastern Star’s fundraising efforts are an important contribution to helping turn this around.

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.

MEAA visit parliament

Members of the MEAA came to Parliament House to talk to Senators and Members about the need for the government to support Australian stories and Australian talent.

We need to ensure top quality drama, comedy and children’s content are produced in Australia and the ABC and SBS are properly funded.

It was lovely to meet Hugo Weaving and Leah Vandenberg with my colleagues Brian Mitchell Federal MP for Lyons and Senator Helen Polley.

Screen Sector visit to Parliament

Earlier today I met with the CEO of Australian Directors’ Guild Kingston Anderson and Owen Johnston from Screen Producers Australia to talk about issues and developments in the Screen Sector.

It is a key part of our culture to have film and television made in Australia that tells our stories to ourselves and to the world.

I look forward to seeing future production in the sector, particularly in Tasmania.

Australian Reading Hour 2019

I was delighted to join Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers for the launch of Australian Reading Hour 2019.

This Thursday, Australians are encouraged to stop what they are doing and read a book for one hour. Research shows that reading is highly effective at reducing stress in adults, and as a former early childhood educator I am well aware of the enormous benefits it has for learning in children. Reading can develop not only language but self-awareness, reasoning, empathy and imagination.

There are many ways to join in: at home, the local library, or your favourite café or bookshop. Get together with a group of friends or colleagues or give your children an extra-long bedtime story.

And if you don’t have a book to read, why not drop by your local bookstore and pick up one of the limited edition Reading Hour books for only $2.99?

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.