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Transcript - 23816

Address at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity opening, Melbourne

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/09/2014

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 23816

Thank you very much indeed Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, it is a real thrill to be here in Parkville, in the heart of the medical research precinct here in Melbourne, the capital of medical research here in Australia.

Aunty Joy, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Professor Doherty, Premier, Lord Mayor, Parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, we should celebrate the heroes of medical research. And we have quite a few heroes of medical research here in Australia.

We have an extraordinary record of medical research achievement in this country, whether it's Peter Doherty, whether it's Howard Florey, Macfarlane Burnet, Ian Frazer, a long list of people who have changed our world because of their work in the field of health and medical research.

Perhaps no Australian has changed the world in the same way that Howard Florey has. Untold millions of people who would otherwise be dead are alive because of the work of Florey and that pantheon of medical researchers from this country of ours.

Australia is good at many things but there is nothing where we excel more than in health and medical research. We are a medical research superpower and long may that continue. Some eight of our 15 Nobel laureates are in the field of medical research with well under one per cent of the world's population; we produce approaching five per cent of the world's refereed medical research.

I wish to do my part as Prime Minister, following on the work I was able to do as Health Minister, to keep our country at the forefront of health and medical research. While many would argue about how it might be funded, the establishment of the medical research future fund, which will build up to be one of the very largest such funds in the world, is an earnest of this Government's absolute commitment to maintaining Australia's place in this field.

And, yes, it is happily one of those areas of bipartisan agreement. The institute, whose magnificent building we open today, is opened by this Government, was funded by the last government from an education fund that was established by the government before that. So, three Governments, one way or another, have a hand in the work that we bring to fruition today and I'm confident that all future governments of all political persuasions will continue to support it because it is so important.

We have the World Health Organization collaborating laboratory on influenza here at the Doherty Institute. We have our high-security testing facilities here at the Doherty Institute. Should Ebola come to this country this institute, this centre, will be at the very forefront of our defences against this dreadful disease.

I can advise that our country is prepared for any such eventuality and for some weeks now we have been screening all visitors to this country, all people coming to this country from West Africa because the last thing we want is complacency in the face of this latest natural scourge.

But we are well placed to deal with these things because of the work of our medical researchers, because of the skill and professionalism of our health and medical community, and because of the commitment over the years of all levels of Government, of all political persuasions.

This is a marvellous occasion. It is on occasions such as this that we can feel most proud of our country and it is fitting that on occasion such as this we salute Professor Peter Doherty – Nobel Laureate, Australian of the Year, living national treasure and inspirer of this marvellous facility which I happily declare open.


Transcript - 23816