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Transcript - 31851

Remarks at Teal Ribbon Day Breakfast, Parliament House, Canberra

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: 25/02/2015

Release Type: Remarks

Transcript ID: 31851


So many people have been touched by this particular cancer and it is important that we do what we can to make a difference for all of them.

I always like to start speeches with the good news and the good news is that Australians are living on average 25 years longer now than our grandparents and great grandparents did a century ago. Our life expectancy today is 25 years greater than it was 100 years ago.

So, this is very good news, it is very, very good news and it is due to the extraordinary work of medical researchers. It is due to the great work of medical and other health professionals. It is due to good work by government over the years with public hygiene and all the other things that sensible government does.

So, we can be very confident that with more research, more sensible policy, more creativity and ingenuity we will achieve comparable results in the decades ahead.

That is the good news. The bad news though is that every day 330 Australians are being diagnosed with cancer. The bad news is that by the age of 75 one in three men and one in four women will receive a cancer diagnosis. The bad news is that some 70 per cent of cancer sufferers will live but 30 per cent will die within five years and the very bad news is that ovarian cancer remains one of the hardest to treat and to deal with. This is the very bad news. Only 40 per cent of ovarian cancer diagnoses, only 40 per cent of people diagnosed are still alive five years later.
So, it is a very serious problem and it is one of the worst cancers we face. Many of us knew and loved Jeannie Ferris. Senator Jeannie Ferris who was the Government Whip in the Senate in the Howard Government, a well-loved colleague and friend to so many of us, she passed away with ovarian cancer and, of course, did everything she could to raise awareness of this terrible disease in the couple of years that she had it.

As the father of three daughters as the brother of three sisters, I want to do everything I humanly can to try to combat this terrible disease. As Health Minister I like to think that I was the minister for medical research and I hope that amongst other things I will be a Prime Minister for medical research.

This is a Government which is absolutely committed to medical research and there are all sorts of policy initiatives that we are taking and are in the process of taking that will certainly contribute massively to our medical research effort in the months and years ahead.

It is great to have the Minister Sussan Ley here. It is great to have Senator Michaelia Cash here, who is the Minister assisting me in this important area.

We have invested some $100 million in ovarian cancer research over the last 15 years. That is good but if the policies of this Government are fully implemented, there will be much more funding and much more research in the years and the decades ahead.

Can I finish on this note – you’re all here because you care. You are all here because you don’t want business as usual when it comes to ovarian cancer and over the centuries, over the decades, our world has been transformed by people who care enough to make a difference and the fact that there are so many of you here today; people of influence, people of ability, people who have demonstrated in your lives how much difference you can make, fills me with optimism. That while things are not great today, they will be so much better in the years and the decades to come.

Thank you.


Transcript - 31851