Decision Maker

Catherine King

  • Shadow Minister for Health

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Victory
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Bill Shorten, Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull, Catherine King, Julie Bishop, Tanya Plibersek, Janet Rice

Axe The TamponTax #BloodyOutrage

There’s no womb in society for a tampon tax. Did you know there is a GST on Tampons AND they are called a ‘luxury’?  I don’t know about you, but they don’t seem like a luxury to me. Condoms, lubricant, incontinence pads or sunscreen on the other hand are GST free. What’s with that?  It’s a bloody outrage. Putting a tax on products women need as a direct consequence of their biology is fundamentally sexist.It’s a stain on our national image. Half the population of Australia -- approximately 10 million women -- will pay tax on these products for the greater part of their lifetime. Costing us about $1000 for buying an essential health product. The Tampon Tax is ridiculous. Period. Luckily, women of childbearing age - those of us who need tampons - will be key voters in the upcoming election. So they'll need to listen if they want to woo us for our votes!It’s a bleeding disgrace. As Australians, as voters, as women, we request that the Federal Government the Opposition end this inherently sexist and unfair unfair tax. This tax is really cramping my style. Tampons belong on the GST free health products list - they're not a luxury. They're a necessity. Can you help me out by sharing the petition on Twitter and Facebook -- with all your friends and everyone else? Let's pull the plug on the Tampon Tax! #BloodyOutrage

Sophie Liley
74,463 supporters
Petitioning Bill Shorten

My ex invited men to rape me in my own home -- urgently make revenge porn a crime

For four years I’ve lived in fear. My ex was impersonating me online, inviting strangers to my family home to ‘rape, humiliate and torture’ me — it’s been hell. But right now, Malcolm Turnbull is still refusing to make ‘revenge porn’ a crime. He's instead proposing perpetrators of this hate just pay a mere fine. The new laws could be voted on within days. Senators, experts and lawyers are all saying this needs to be criminalised to be effective. Please sign my urgent petition telling Malcolm Turnbull to make this cyber rape a crime and not let women suffer like I have in this hell. These dangerous people need to be in jail. Over 50 strangers have appeared at my family home demanding sex - I still freeze with fear every time the doorbell rings. Images of me are online somewhere without my permission. Even the police admitted there was nothing they could do to help me - police can’t prevent or punish this behaviour unless it is a crime. It’s not good enough that Malcolm Turnbull refuses to make this a criminal act, instead saying these perpetrators of cyber rape only deserve a fine. Women are being left powerless. The UK, USA, Canada and Japan have all introduced specific legislation to protect revenge porn victims - it’s time for Australia to urgently follow their lead. Malcolm Turnbull — don’t allow perpetrators of revenge porn to get away with a fine and leave victims suffering. Make revenge porn a crime.

Robyn Night
61,336 supporters
Petitioning Catherine King, Greg Hunt MP, Malcolm Turnbull, Meegan Fitzharris, Steven Miles, Brad Hazard, Steven Wade, Jill Hennessy, Michael Ferguson, Sarah Lovell MLC, Janet Rice, Roger Cook, Scott Morrison

“Praying the Gay Away” nearly killed me -- outlaw ‘Gay Conversion’ therapy

Trying to “Pray the Gay Away” nearly killed me. I’m not the only one. An investigation in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald revealed gay conversion therapy has not disappeared in Australia, but has simply gone more underground. According to the article, even children have been subjected to ex-gay therapy. I was only 16 when my own ‘conversion therapy’ began. I came out to a church leader who wanted me to be ‘cured’ and I began sessions with a counsellor aimed at changing my sexuality. At 17 my church introduced me to the leader of an actual program designed to turn me straight. Eventually, I was desperate enough to try it. Every week, members spoke about their ‘sins’ and we learned about the spiritual and experiential reasons that we had ‘turned gay’. I was so ashamed and guilt-ridden that I remained completely celibate for years. So-called ‘conversion therapy’ causes depression, self-loathing and even suicide. I prayed to God asking him to either heal me, or kill me. I was so depressed, I wanted to die. The trauma associated with that part of my life still affects me - how could it not? How is this legal? I don’t want to see a single kid harmed by “therapies” that tell them that something that is innate in them is evil or demonic or needs to be ‘healed’. Please, sign this petition calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Health Minister Greg Hunt to work with each state to protect the most vulnerable and outlaw gay conversion therapy and it’s advocacy nationwide. It has no place in our medical profession and certainly not in the lives of minors. *UPDATE* This petition focuses on legislation/regulation to prevent ‘gay conversion’ being practised in formal or therapeutic settings (such as in counsellors offices). This is a good start, however to effectively curtail the SOCE/Gay Conversion movement, a much broader response is needed. After signing this petition, please read the recommendations in the survivor statement at www.SOCEsurvivors.com.au

Chris Csabs
46,486 supporters
Petitioning RACGP , AMA , TGA, NSW Health, NSW Government, Greg Hunt MP, Senator Richard Di Natale, Catherine King, Alexander white, Pauline Hanson

Doctors petition to stop unnecessary suffering & make cannabis affordable & accessible

Cannabis has been used by humanity for thousands of years and was prohibited only 80 years ago. Between 1841 and 1937 cannabis was prescribed by doctors and made by pharmacists for the treatment of multiple medical conditions. Doctors were against cannabis prohibition and the AMA president Dr William Woodward stated in 1937 that banning this plant would stagnate medicinal use and scientific research. The current cannabis prescribing process in Australia is so riddled with red tape that I am confident to say on practical level it is still illegal to prescribe it. This system is insulting to doctors, especially GP's and cruel to patients. Sadly, patients are forced to turn to the black market to obtain their medicine. This is wrong, they should be guided by doctors. However, how can we help them if we are practically unable to prescribe it? We can’t ignore it anymore. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and embrace this ancient medicine with no reported deaths when overdosed. It is our responsibility to support our patients in their choices of treatment and guide them accordingly. Therefore, I am appealing to my fellow doctors to embrace this important medicine. The medicinal properties of cannabis can be optimised and the side effects minimised when used in a proper clinical setting. It would also allow us to conduct n=1 studies, which might be appropriate in the case of this plant due to its uniqueness and difficulty with standardising. I am urging the RACGP to change its current undecided position and support proper legalisation and streamlining of the prescribing process as well as ongoing education. Unfortunately, our current attitudes support the black market. It is time to let go of fear, dogma and prejudice. It is time to embrace cannabis as an important therapeutic agent and listen to our patients, their stories of pain, suffering, healing and hope. Prohibition and red tape is not the answer, awareness and knowledge are. Please, sign the petition to stop unnecessary suffering and make medicinal cannabis affordable, accessible and easy to prescribe!

Dr Teresa Towpik
41,939 supporters
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Catherine King

Funding priority for PCOS Research

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 12-18% of women of reproductive age and up to 21% in some high-risk groups, such as Indigenous women.  The hormonal syndrome can cause depression, weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, hair loss, infertility and acne. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association of Australia (POSAA) are partnering with researchers and health professionals around the country and across the world to highlight the need for more research into PCOS. Now there is little to no funding to improve understanding into the causes and treatments in PCOS despite the fact that is affects 13% of Australian women. Many of  you have been involved before in supporting the need for a guideline to help us and our Doctors better manage PCOS. Now we are asking you to provide your support and voice in a proposal to our government to increase research support in PCOS. Please sign up here to support this proposal and share far and wide.

Veryan McAllister
8,620 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Sussan Ley

Sussan Ley: MAKE LIFE SAVING TECHNOLOGY AFFORDABLE TO TYPE 1 DIABETICS BY INCLUDING CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR (CGM) ON THE NDSS and PBS

Type one diabetes is not a lifestyle choice. You can't get it from eating too much sugar. It is an autoimmune disorder, caused when the body's own immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it permanently unable to produce insulin. The above picture is of our 6 year old daughter, Violet- a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic.   The is no cure. 80% of those diagnosed have no family history. Most are young children. It is a life sentence of endless needles, finger pricks and carb counting. Management of type one is intense, round the clock and vitally important. Blood sugar that is too low will cause disorientation, loss of consciousness, coma and, if unrecognised or untreated- death. Low blood sugar levels whilst sleeping are particularly dangerous and can also be fatal.Blood sugar that is too high has an immediate threat of DKA (blood that is too acidic) which is also life threatening. It is a fine line and a balancing act that diabetics walk every day to try to maintain normal blood sugar levels. For you and I, that is between 4-6 mmol/l. A diabetic can sway from 2-22mmol/l in a day, even when they actively manage their diabetes to the best of their ability. The long term effects of poorly managed levels are frightening and costly to the community- kidney failure, loss of extremities, eye problems, damage to blood vessels, and damage to just about every organ in the body. Even young type one diabetics without long term complications often require hospitalisation for common gastro and flu, also at great cost to the tax payer. In addition to illness, blood sugar levels are effected by exercise, hormones and even emotion. To say that blood sugar levels are unpredictable is a significant understatement. To better manage their diabetes, type one patients need comprehensive information about the way their body's blood glucose levels trend. The current recommendation (that is supported and funded by the Australian healthcare system) is for type one diabetics to check their blood sugar levels by conducting approximately 10 finger pricks a day (upon waking, before every snack or meal, before bed and at 2am). But this only provides 10 small snapshots, and does not allow the identification of blood sugar level trends. Continuous Glucose monitoring (CGM) is the perfect solution to many complications faced daily by type one diabetics. CGM is conducted by the wearing of a sensor (such as a Dexcom) that checks the blood sugar level every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day. It allows for trend identification, prevention of high and low blood sugar events, and is the best way to prevent hospitalisation for common illnesses, as it allows for better management and control at home. Better day to day management is the best prevention for long term complications. It also allows type one diabetics (and their families) to sleep at night, knowing they will be alerted by their CGM if their blood sugar is dangerously low - thus saving lives! The technology for CGM is available in Australia - for a price. Unfortunately, the Australian government does not support this technology, calling it a ' lifestyle choice', and it is not covered by the NDSS/ PBS or private health insurance. The out of pocket costs are prohibitive to Australian families (we pay approximately $108 per week for CGM, in addition to the other costs of diabetes management- insulin, consumables, insulin pumps, blood glucose meters, etc). Inclusion of CGM into the NDSS/ PBS will initially have a cost to the tax payer, yes. But the savings in avoided hospital stays and long term complications will be significant. Diabetics only make up 3% of the population, and type one make up 10% of these but treatment costs for long term complications are staggering- between $4500 and $9000+ per person per year. In addition to the financial and health implications just described, a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes also has a profound emotional impact on the entire family. As the parent of a newly diagnosed 6 year old child, I know firsthand of the shock, grief, fear and desperation of coming to terms with the diagnosis of a chronic medical condition that has the real possibility of shortening your child's lifespan by decades. CGM also provides type 1 diabetics and their families peace of mind. The ability to know with a glance at the Dexcom that your child is not going dangerously low during gymnastics class, dangerously high due to a failed/missed insulin dose. To know that your child WILL wake up the next morning! Please help support the inclusion of CGM on the NDSS/ PBS by signing this petition.

Erika Lutz
7,964 supporters
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Catherine King

Better health care for Australians with chronic pain

For far too long in Australia, the only choice to manage pain has been taking painkillers like coedine that often create more problems and harms than they address.  If codeine is no longer available over the counter then people with chronic pain need accessible and alternative treatments! I am Mary-Lynne Cochrane, a Good Samaritan Sister who knows what it is like living with chronic pain. I have lived with arthritis for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve had nearly all of my major joints replaced, a bone transplant, and three back surgeries. I have lived with constant pain, sometimes unable to move. A lifetime of mismanagement with painkillers and their side effects has taken its toll. There are thousands of people with similar stories out there. In the early stages of my pain I took the over-the-counter drug Mersyndol, sometimes doubling the dose to cover the pain. After that I took a range of prescription opioids including Panadeine Forte, Morphine, Endone, OxyContin and Gabapentin. They made me sleepy; I put on weight, and my pain still became uncontrollable. I always had to make sure I had enough painkillers in the house. If I didn’t have enough I would panic at the thought of running out and not being able to relieve the pain. I believed my only choice was to cover up the pain rather than manage it. I am one individual – I want to change one thing that would help countless others like me. I only learned how to manage pain without medication a few years ago when I attended a pain clinic. I learned about my pain, I had to change my thinking and practice of relieving pain. Instead of lying down and being careful, I now know I have to get up and move. There is still a lot of misunderstanding in the community about pain management, and it is very important people who want to stop taking opioids are given the right support to do so. It shouldn’t cost me more to manage pain properly using allied health care than it does to use painkillers. The Therapeutic Goods Administration is removing one of the few choices that people living with pain  – over-the-counter codeine. When misused, codeine can be a dangerous and addictive opioid.  It is responsible for the deaths of over a hundred people a year. Australians are forced to use this over-the-counter killer because there are so few options available. At present, patients with a chronic condition can be eligible for five allied health services per calendar year. The five services may be made up of one type of service (e.g. five physiotherapy services) or a combination of different types of services (e.g. one dietetic and four podiatry services). The GP determines the number and combination of services that are appropriate for the patient’s treatment requirements. There is no way to manage a chronic pain condition with such little support. One person with a flare up of pain can use five of these services in a week. People using codeine often need better medical support and to be shown alternatives. Join me in my call to the Liberal and Labor parties: we urgently need an action plan for access to treatments for people with chronic pain.

Painaustralia
5,198 supporters
Petitioning Malcolm Turnbull, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Catherine King, Bill Shorten

Keep low-dose codeine medication available over-the-counter

Stopping low-dose codeine medications from being available over-the-counter (OTC) will greatly inconvenience honest hard working Australians, Doctors & hospitals. As a mother who works full time & an Australian consumer, I on occasion require medications such as Panadeine Extra or Nurofen Plus to relieve period pain or migraines so that I can go to work & earn a living. In these instances I do not have time to wait one week to see my Doctor, I need a timely low-dose codeine medication which is very effective at managing my pain & enables me to function to attend work & look after my young children. If these medications are not readily available in our time of need from the pharmacists we trust, what are we the public supposed to do? Take time off work & potentially lose income? Call the home doctor service (if that hasn't been abolished)? Present at the hospital or a walk in clinic?  I am not a drug addict, do not suffer from a long term chronic pain illness & am not looking to manipulate the system in any way - I am simply an Australian mum who like most other people in the community works full time & cannot afford not to function because of a short term ailment like period pain or migraines.  The sale of OTC codeine medications is already monitored by pharmacists using the MedsASSIST program by Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Reports of this seem to be successful & most consumers seem happy for their purchase of codeine to be recorded & monitored. Many Australians agree that people who suffer from long term chronic pain illnesses should have prescriptions for codeine if they require frequent/high doses, but what about the rest of us who only require it on occasion? Are we put into the "drug addict category?" Why are pharmacists not being trusted to utilise the current real time monitoring system & decide if they are willing to sell a customer low-dose codeine products based on frequency of purchases? Pharmacists advise consumers how to take medications, what to avoid etc with every single sale. I think that the average occasional users of these medications have been vastly overlooked & the role of pharmacists under valued. Today's ABC news article states: "The regulator said there was "little evidence" low-dose codeine medicines were "any more effective for pain relief or cough than similar medicines without codeine"." I strongly disagree with that statement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration - I think many Australians benefit from low-dose codeine medication on occasion & if it was so ineffective then no-one would bother taking it. I believe most people try using medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen first & if they prove ineffective then look to the low-dose codeine medications.  I would like to see the Government take the time to consult with the community before implementing this policy & provide solutions for what consumers can do if they require low-dose codeine medications but either cannot afford to pay to see a Doctor or cannot afford to wait a few weeks to get an appointment with a Doctor. Shall we all go to emergency at our local hospitals & burden the already overburdened health system if our GP's are not available at our time of need? Will funding be granted to assist people with addiction given that most rehabilition services are already overburdened & have significant waiting times? Please advise. 

Sally Kasparek
2,145 supporters
Petitioning Australian Government, Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten, Senator Richard Di Natale, Greg Hunt MP, Catherine King

A Royal Commission into Australia’s regulation of “Medical Devices”

Australia’s archaic regulatory system for medical devices is failing to protect us.   The current pre market process for approving medical devices believe it or not, is less onerous and rigorous than the approval process for pharmaceutical drugs Medical devices, such as Surgical Mesh (Hernia, Urogynecological, Rectal, Breast), Hip Implants, Breast Implants, Stents and Birth Control Devices (Essure, IUD’s) are all approved and monitored in Australia on evidence supplied by the Manufacturer. In 2012 a systematic review of medical device regulation, revealed that medical devices were being approved on limited data. Currently in Australia regulations allow for manufacturers to determine who conducts their product research and which subsequent studies they elect to publish. This means that manufactures have the ability to cherry pick and manipulate their research in order to get their medical device quickly onto the market.(1) Dr Rita Redberg, editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, argues that one of the issues with Medical Device studies is that they don’t use control groups, therefore it is impossible to determine how the device compares to alternative or existing treatments.(2) Despite this somewhat gaping hole in the medical system, Australians have been led to believe that medical devices have been thoroughly and rigorously tested by independent regulators. However, as the men and women who have began to suffer from complications from their medical devices now realise, this is not the case. Believe it or not, devices, such as Surgical Mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Stress Urinary Incontinence, and Hernias were all approved throughout the world without any clinical evidence of their safety and efficacy. For example one Urogynecological Mesh device the Intravaginal Sling (IVS) was heavily marketed to women by the Australian Medical Association, yet was only tested on 13 large dogs before being approved and implanted into women(3) Furthermore, Australia’s post market surveillance of medical devices, in terms of their performance and complications, can only be described as negligent. As a result, Australian lives continue to be at risk of injury and death.  Despite being in the best position to identify complications, surgeons, doctors, or nurses are not mandatory required to report adverse events to the Australian regulator, The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Instead, the reporting of complications is left to the Medical Device manufacturer, who generally displays a financial bias towards reporting these complications. It therefore comes as no surprise that complications are underreported to a staggering degree.(1,2) Dr Rita Redberg estimates that between only three and seven percent of all adverse events ever get reported and that medical devices, which are falsely considered safe by regulators, are more often than not, tragically implanted into patients.(2) The absence of mandatory reporting also means that there are no accurate figures on how many patients have been injured or have died from such medical devices. Although each implantable medical device comes with an implant log, individual barcode and lot number that is placed on a patients operative notes, Australian regulators have no national database to record or track the number of devices being used on patients. As a consequence, regulators have no way of notifying patients that the medical device implanted in their body has been recalled or withdrawn from the market. This means that those Australian’s who are implanted with defective medical devices have been left to suffer in silence, more often than not, dealing with debilitating complications because they unaware that their medical device has been recalled or withdrawn. However what is most heartbreaking for these men and women is that our regulation system exempts both the regulator and manufacturer from financial responsibility. As a result, patients whose lives have been destroyed by a faulty medical device are forced to pay exorbitant fees for medical treatment, medications, consultations, investigations and costly surgeries, which include having their device removed. These costly expenses have forced many to access their superannuation. Furthermore, the majority have been forced to live in debilitating pain, barely surviving on disability pensions. Essentially manufacturers have been given permission by our regulatory authorities and governments to walk away from their moral, ethical and financial responsibility. Chief Executive of the consumer group, Health Issues Centre, Danny Vadasz, said device regulation in Australia was so flawed at every step of the chain that another device scandal was inevitable.’(4) What is more disturbing is that there are currently reforms being proposed to streamline approval processes to enable new products to appear in  the Australian market much faster  by relying on ‘Comparable Overseas Regulators” such as America’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Mesh Awareness Australia believes that a Royal Commission is urgently needed to expose and change this archaic regulatory system. If you want to see changes in how medical devices are approved and regulated in  Australia please sign our petition. Australians must be protected. References  1. Kramer, D. B., Xu, S., & Kesselheim, A. S. (2012). How Does Medical Device Regulation Perform in the United States and the European Union? A Systematic Review. PLoS Medicine, 9(7), e1001276.   http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001276  2. Rita Redberg: (2017) ‘FDA proposal to delay reporting of device malfunctions “should be tossed”’, The Cancer Letter.  https://cancerletter.com/articles/20170728_3/  3. Joanne McCarthy (2017) ‘Australian Medical Association president confirms AMA role in pelvic mesh scandal.’, Newcastle Herald. https://www.theherald.com.au/story/4872857/ama-says-pelvic-mesh-support-not-our-proudest-hour/  4. Alison Branley & Sophie Scott (2018), ‘The regulation of medical devices is flawed and another scandal is inevitable: health advocates’, ABC News http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-21/health-advocates-warn-another-medical-device-scandal-inevitable/10143162?pfmredir=sm  

Mesh Awareness Australia
1,802 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Hon Bill Shorten MP, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, MP, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Richard Marles, Warren Truss, Hon Julie Bishop MP...

Stop the attack on Australians' citizenship! Scrap the [Un]Australian Citizenship Amendment Bill. Don’t trade our liberty for so-called 'security'.

Michael Lucy from The Monthly describes the situation succinctly: Legislation that will allow the government to effectively cancel the citizenship of dual passport-holders who have committed certain terrorism-related offences has returned to Parliament. This is a considerably revised form of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 that Tony Abbott proposed in May. Some of the quirkier parts of the bill – such as including vandalism of Commonwealth property among the offences that could lead to revocation of citizenship – have been removed, though it will still apply retrospectively, and can apply to people who have not been convicted of any crime. Labor has indicated that it will support the legislation. One important question still hasn’t really been answered: what’s the point? What does it achieve that existing legislation can’t? Will Australians fighting for Islamic State in Syria really be bothered by losing the right to the passports they have already burned? Are there people in Australia who haven’t been convicted of any offence that the government is planning to exile? And if we do start banishing people, where will they go? Is this anything more than a way of washing our hands of Australians we don’t want to deal with any more? On this issue, as with refugees, the government is pretending that shipping a problem offshore is the same as solving it. The law is also liable to set a bad precedent. A citizenship that can be cancelled is not really citizenship; it is a temporary privilege that can be demolished in a moment at the whim of a minister. No matter how great the crimes our citizens commit, they are still Australian. As the Bill’s explanatory memorandum notes, “Australian citizenship gives full and formal membership of the Australian community and is a common bond … uniting all Australians”. At the same time, it says “The Bill only applies to persons who are a national or citizen of a country other than Australia, that is, dual citizens”. Both of these can’t be true at once. Either all of us get equal treatment in the law, or dual nationals become literal second-class citizens. The Australian Citizenship Amendment Bill 2015 should be scrapped. It is time for us as a nation to face up to our real security problems and start solving them, rather than off-shoring them. Australia should rely on its courts to prosecute and punish criminal behaviour by terrorists.  Alice Hill Melbourne @backseatdriverz

Alice Hill
1,299 supporters
Axe The TamponTax #BloodyOutrage

Dear petitioners, I’m writing to let you know Labor stands with you against the tampon tax – and has a concrete plan to abolish it. This is a tax on women. It’s unfair and discriminatory. The decision to include women’s sanitary products in the GST should never have been made in the first place. There is no question that sanitary products are essential items. They’re not a luxury - they’re a basic need. The fact that the 10 per cent GST is applied to tampons and pads but not to items like condoms is plainly ridiculous. So Labor has recently announced plans to abolish the GST on sanitary products. A Shorten Labor Government will work with the states and territories to end this tax once and for all. Labor leaders in every state and territory have already backed our plan, so we’re confident we can deliver. We will offset the cost by applying the GST to a range of natural therapies that the Government’s Chief Medical Officer says do not have proven health benefits. This will mean that abolishing the tampon tax has no impact on states’ budget bottom lines – which is important to ensuring their support. Malcolm Turnbull could back this plan today and make it happen before the next election. But if he doesn’t, Labor is determined to act. Catherine King Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare

5 months ago
“Praying the Gay Away” nearly killed me -- outlaw ‘Gay Conversion’ therapy

Dear petitioners, I’m writing to let you know that Labor stands with you, Chris Csabs and the medical experts in opposing gay conversion therapy. As Chris and other Australians have detailed, conversion therapy is discredited and dangerous. But shockingly, two Turnbull Government ministers – the Acting Prime Minister and the Health Minister – have now failed to condemn the practice when given the chance. This follows attempts by some Liberals to restore the practice in Victoria. Greg Hunt and Michael McCormack’s comments were ignorant and incredibly hurtful, and fly in the face of expert advice. The Australian Medical Association “unequivocally condemns” gay conversion therapy, saying* it is: “harmful to both the individuals who are subjected to it, and society more broadly, as it perpetuates the erroneous belief that homosexuality is a disorder which requires a cure”. This advice is backed by the World Medical Association, which says** that conversion therapies: “have no medical indication and represent a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated”. Labor agrees. That’s why we’re calling on the Turnbull Government to clarify its stance on gay conversion therapy urgently – and work with the states to ban it. Thanks for signing Chris’s petition, and please be assured that Labor will keep fighting alongside LGBTI Australians to relegate conversion therapy to history – where it belongs. Catherine King Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare *https://twitter.com/ama_media/status/986475163721093120 **https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-statement-on-natural-variations-of-human-sexuality/

6 months ago
Stroke survivors need our support

I’m proud to be able to tell you that a Shorten Labor Government will deliver a $16 million boost to stroke awareness and follow up care to tackle. One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime, with Australians suffering more than 50,000 new or recurrent strokes this year alone. Almost half a million Australians are already living with the effects of a stroke, a figure that is expected to climb to over 700,000 by 2032 and almost one million by 2050. But it doesn’t have to be this way – access to quick treatment and support services can save lives and reduce disability. A Shorten Labor Government will partner with the Stroke Foundation to increase awareness of the signs of stroke and ensure better supports for stroke survivors, including improving access to treatments and support. Labor’s investment will raise awareness of the Stroke Foundation’s FAST test by forming local partnerships and re-establishing the StrokeSafe Ambassador program. The number one issue for stroke survivors is improved care. A Shorten Labor Government will therefore invest in the Stroke Foundation’s follow-up and referral service for around 24,000 stroke survivors. This will facilitate their sustainable, long-term recovery. Leaving hospital after a stroke can be a very frightening and isolating time for survivors, particularly for those who don’t have family support. Survivors speak of not being able to access information and services and being left to fend for themselves, unaware of the right places to seek help. The Stroke Foundation’s follow up and referral service will provide comprehensive post-hospital support to stroke patients, their carers and families. The service will pro-actively contact stroke survivors via a phone call at around six weeks post discharge providing a needs assessment, offering assistance and community service referral. The follow-up service will also provide vital information for families and carers as they help their loved one adjust to life after a stroke. Thank you for showing your care, and support for this vital issue, Catherine King MP Shadow Minister for Health

2 years ago
Extend CGM funding to give all Type 1 Diabetics access to this life saving technology

I’m proud to be able to tell you that a Shorten Labor Government will improve access to life-saving technologies for Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Importantly, Labor’s commitment will significantly extend this support beyond that being offered by the Turnbull Government. Labor will fully fund access to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for: •              All children and young adults up to the age of 21. •              People aged 21 and over who have severe hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and who, for health or other reasons, have limited awareness of the warning signs of impending hypoglycaemia. •              Pregnant women. Labor’s $79.7 million investment over four years will fully subsidise CGM technology for these groups, making it available to those who need it most. Based on analysis by Diabetes Australia, more than 6,000 Australians with Type 1 diabetes are expected to benefit from Labor’s investment. As you know, at its most extreme, hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) can be deadly. While deaths are rare, the long term complications of Type 1 diabetes can also be devastating, with effects including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke and blindness. CGM technology reduces the risks of Type 1 diabetes and improves quality of life. However, the technology is expensive, and it is not currently subsided by the Australian Government. Labor will remove this cost barrier for thousands of Australians. Labor’s investment in CGMs also makes economic sense. The devices help to reduce the short and long-term costs of treating diabetes. Research shows that a single severe hypoglycaemic event can cost more than $18,000, including health care and productivity costs. A Shorten Labor Government will also invest $4 million to expand access to the Insulin Pump Program, ensuring it can meet future demand. The former Labor Government established the Insulin Pump Program in 2008 and expanded it in 2013. The Program provides subsidised access to insulin pumps, which deliver a continuous amount of insulin throughout the day. Insulin pump therapy can be life-changing and potentially life-saving for people with Type 1 diabetes. It reduces the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia, enables better blood glucose management to reduce the risk of complications, and reduces the costs associated with ambulance use, emergency department presentations and hospital admissions. Due to cost and poor access, only 12 per cent of Australians with Type 1 diabetes have accessed insulin pump therapy. Demand for the pumps continues to outstrip the number of subsidies that are available, and hundreds of Australians are on waiting lists for the Program. Labor’s commitment of $1 million a year over the four years will expand the program from the existing 68 pumps a year to 200 pumps distributed annually. This will meet current demand and help improve the quality of life of hundreds of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Labor’s commitment to CGM technology and the Insulin Pump Program is further proof of our belief that all Australians should get the health care they need, not just the health care they can afford.  Thank you once again for showing your care, and support, to Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Catherine King MP

2 years ago
Continuous blood glucose monitors for ALL Type 1 Diabetics

I’m proud to be able to tell you that a Shorten Labor Government will improve access to life-saving technologies for Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Importantly, Labor’s commitment will significantly extend this support beyond that being offered by the Turnbull Government. Labor will fully fund access to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for: •              All children and young adults up to the age of 21. •              People aged 21 and over who have severe hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and who, for health or other reasons, have limited awareness of the warning signs of impending hypoglycaemia. •              Pregnant women. Labor’s $79.7 million investment over four years will fully subsidise CGM technology for these groups, making it available to those who need it most. Based on analysis by Diabetes Australia, more than 6,000 Australians with Type 1 diabetes are expected to benefit from Labor’s investment. As you know, at its most extreme, hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) can be deadly. While deaths are rare, the long term complications of Type 1 diabetes can also be devastating, with effects including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke and blindness. CGM technology reduces the risks of Type 1 diabetes and improves quality of life. However, the technology is expensive, and it is not currently subsided by the Australian Government. Labor will remove this cost barrier for thousands of Australians. Labor’s investment in CGMs also makes economic sense. The devices help to reduce the short and long-term costs of treating diabetes. Research shows that a single severe hypoglycaemic event can cost more than $18,000, including health care and productivity costs. A Shorten Labor Government will also invest $4 million to expand access to the Insulin Pump Program, ensuring it can meet future demand. The former Labor Government established the Insulin Pump Program in 2008 and expanded it in 2013. The Program provides subsidised access to insulin pumps, which deliver a continuous amount of insulin throughout the day. Insulin pump therapy can be life-changing and potentially life-saving for people with Type 1 diabetes. It reduces the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia, enables better blood glucose management to reduce the risk of complications, and reduces the costs associated with ambulance use, emergency department presentations and hospital admissions. Due to cost and poor access, only 12 per cent of Australians with Type 1 diabetes have accessed insulin pump therapy. Demand for the pumps continues to outstrip the number of subsidies that are available, and hundreds of Australians are on waiting lists for the Program. Labor’s commitment of $1 million a year over the four years will expand the program from the existing 68 pumps a year to 200 pumps distributed annually. This will meet current demand and help improve the quality of life of hundreds of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Labor’s commitment to CGM technology and the Insulin Pump Program is further proof of our belief that all Australians should get the health care they need, not just the health care they can afford.  Thank you once again for showing your care, and support, to Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Catherine King MP

2 years ago
Subsidise a LIFE SAVING device for ALL Type 1 Diabetics & keep 140,000 Australians alive!

I’m proud to be able to tell you that a Shorten Labor Government will improve access to life-saving technologies for Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Importantly, Labor’s commitment will significantly extend this support beyond that being offered by the Turnbull Government. Labor will fully fund access to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for: •              All children and young adults up to the age of 21. •              People aged 21 and over who have severe hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and who, for health or other reasons, have limited awareness of the warning signs of impending hypoglycaemia. •              Pregnant women. Labor’s $79.7 million investment over four years will fully subsidise CGM technology for these groups, making it available to those who need it most. Based on analysis by Diabetes Australia, more than 6,000 Australians with Type 1 diabetes are expected to benefit from Labor’s investment. As you know, at its most extreme, hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) can be deadly. While deaths are rare, the long term complications of Type 1 diabetes can also be devastating, with effects including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke and blindness. CGM technology reduces the risks of Type 1 diabetes and improves quality of life. However, the technology is expensive, and it is not currently subsided by the Australian Government. Labor will remove this cost barrier for thousands of Australians. Labor’s investment in CGMs also makes economic sense. The devices help to reduce the short and long-term costs of treating diabetes. Research shows that a single severe hypoglycaemic event can cost more than $18,000, including health care and productivity costs. A Shorten Labor Government will also invest $4 million to expand access to the Insulin Pump Program, ensuring it can meet future demand. The former Labor Government established the Insulin Pump Program in 2008 and expanded it in 2013. The Program provides subsidised access to insulin pumps, which deliver a continuous amount of insulin throughout the day. Insulin pump therapy can be life-changing and potentially life-saving for people with Type 1 diabetes. It reduces the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia, enables better blood glucose management to reduce the risk of complications, and reduces the costs associated with ambulance use, emergency department presentations and hospital admissions. Due to cost and poor access, only 12 per cent of Australians with Type 1 diabetes have accessed insulin pump therapy. Demand for the pumps continues to outstrip the number of subsidies that are available, and hundreds of Australians are on waiting lists for the Program. Labor’s commitment of $1 million a year over the four years will expand the program from the existing 68 pumps a year to 200 pumps distributed annually. This will meet current demand and help improve the quality of life of hundreds of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Labor’s commitment to CGM technology and the Insulin Pump Program is further proof of our belief that all Australians should get the health care they need, not just the health care they can afford.  Thank you once again for showing your care, and support, to Australians with Type 1 diabetes. Catherine King MP

2 years ago
STOP THE FREEZE!

Australians are passionate about Medicare, and the response to this petition highlights how strongly we will resist any government that tries to undermine universal health care. There is no doubt Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare freeze will destroy Medicare by driving down bulk billing and forcing patients to pay more. If the freeze is not stopped, doctors estimate they will have to charge patients an extra $20, three times more than Tony Abbott’s GP Tax. And the freeze is just the start with the Government also setting up a secret taskforce to privatise the Medicare payments system. If this government is re-elected then Medicare as we know it will be gone. That is why Labor has announced we will end Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare freeze, and restore bulk billing. That is why Labor will scrap Malcolm Turnbull’s $5 hike in prescriptions. That is why Labor will put an end to the privatisation of Medicare. Only by voting for Labor on July 2nd can you ensure Medicare survives and continues to provide the world class health care that all Australians are entitled to. Thank you once again for your support for Medicare, and for standing up for the right of all Australians to affordable world class health care. Catherine King MP

2 years ago
Increase awareness of Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) or Dyspraxia.

I do realise that DCD is a very distressing condition for people who suffer from it at any age, but especially in the case of children, their parents and other carers and especially because its symptoms are still not well understood by those who do not have it. Awareness campaigns by celebrities is a valuable way to solve the problem of this lack of public appreciation of DCD, so it is pleasing to see Daniel Radcliff being so supportive in this regard. But dealing with what is so far an incurable condition also needs active involvement by governments. This is why the Change.org petition has my support and encouragement. It is clear that one of the ways in which governments can and should help to deal with DCD, especially in the case of the children who suffer from it, is to foster the cooperation needed among the various interests and sectors involved. By this I mean the education and health sectors as well as carers. It is important also that governments make sure that the health system itself effectively supports people with conditions such as DCD, which, though it is incurable, can be manageable if it is diagnosed early enough. This point is another reason why I am so worried about what is happening to the Government’s attitude to the part played by preventive and public health care in our general health system, as it has shown in the Budget. This is where the major part of the responsibility for the way we deal with DCD resides. DCD may not be curable, but the earlier it is diagnosed, the faster and better its symptoms can be dealt with. In the case of DCD, diagnosis involves paediatricians, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists. But it begins with primary care doctors. Putting barriers such as co-payments between patients and medical professionals is a severe (and unnecessary) impediment to good community health care, which all governments until now used to accept as a primary government responsibility. As I say, the petition has my encouragement, not only as a way to help the victims of DCD and their carers but also as a way to encourage the Government to understand that we limit the effectiveness and accessibility of our system of public health care to our serious, long-term disadvantage.

4 years ago