- Shadow Minister for Health
- Shadow Minister for Health
Decriminalise the use of medicinal cannabis for people with terminal cancer like my son.
The 24th February 2019 marked the fourth anniversary of the death from bowel cancer of my beautiful 25-year-old son Dan Haslam - and is the third anniversary of the legislative changes we believed would make medicinal cannabis available to all sick Australians who needed it. When it was passed, they called it 'Dan's Law'. After years of campaigning, backed by this Change.org petition which at the time was signed by over 250,000 people, I was so proud. Dan wasn't beside me, but he was with me. But now I'm angry and bitterly disappointed. Why? Because the medicinal cannabis system kickstarted by Dan's Law is a mess. Rather than making things easier, the legislative changes of 2016 which were supposed to make cannabis and cannabis products available to sick Australians have barely improved matters at all. Only around 2000 people have been able to legally access medicinal cannabis. Patients still struggle to obtain such medicines legally while a huge black market has developed servicing hundreds of thousands of people. The products supplied by this illicit market are of course of unknown quality and safety, completely illegal and are being used without medical supervision, placing thousands of sick people in harm’s way. But it gets even worse. A knock-on of the 2016 Dan's Law legislation has been that medicinal cannabis and other cannabis products fall into a state of permanent ‘regulatory limbo’. They are – quite literally ‘approved unapproved medicines’. And the TGA, which approves new medicines in Australia, is simply ill-prepared to assess medicinal cannabis. Dan’s Law was put in place to legalise the cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Australia. But was it all for nothing? That's why I'm therefore re-starting this petition and asking for your help to fix the medicinal cannabis mess. Please, sign and share this petition and help me honour my son's life and hard work. What we have now is an insult to his memory, and leaves hundreds of thousands of chronically and terminally ill Australians in unnecessary pain. #FixDansLaw
Save the Mortgage Broking Industry!
We are calling on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to ignore the recommendation made by the Banking Royal Commission to change Mortgage Broker remuneration. We also call upon the Opposition Leader and Shadow Treasurer to pledge that they will ignore this recommendation, should they win government. Owning a home is the great Australian dream that has become increasingly out of reach for many Australians in the past decade. The proposed changes to the mortgage broking industry, recommended this week by the Royal Commission, will place that dream even further out of reach for many people. We ask both the government and opposition to thoroughly consider the implications of enacting the recommendations made regarding the mortgage broking industry, and ensure that the outcome is fair to the average Australian. We support keeping mortgage broking free to consumers, and we support the ‘paid-the-same’ commission model employed by most brokerages that has ensured impartial decision making for almost 30 years. We completely reject the assertion by Commissioner Hayne and Matt Comyn, CBA CEO, that trailing commission is “money for nothing”. Mortgage Brokers are available 24/7 to answer clients questions, undertake loan variations, provide support and education, review their loans and make sure they aren’t getting ripped off by the banks by negotiating better rates on their behalf, as well as many other services. This is what they receive trailing commission for, and we stress actually provides for better customer outcomes. Without Mortgage Brokers being constantly being in contact with clients, banks use ‘rate creep’ to gouge more and more interest from clients due to new and bigger discounts becoming available to NEW clients, while existing clients effectively pay more. We strongly believe that customers will end up paying more. Home buyers will be penalised in one of two ways: either they will be unable to afford the proposed fee-for-service structure, resulting in a reduced ability to access the funding that is right for them; or, those that can afford the proposed fee-for-service structure will be forced to absorb significant costs that the banking sector were previously responsible for. Removing the commission structure that is paid by banks to mortgage brokers is estimated to put billions of dollars back into the Big 4 Banks, while implementing a fee-for-service structure transfers the responsibility of those costs to aspiring property buyers already making the most expensive purchase of their life. The Royal Commission uncovered misconduct and even criminal activity at some of the highest levels of Australian banking, and yet mortgage brokers and their customers are the key group likely to suffer significant penalties in the wake of the report. Smaller banks without a large branch network who currently rely on brokers to introduce customers will also suffer a significant loss of marketshare. The Big 4 banks, meanwhile, have had some of their best days on the share market since the report was made publicly available. Mortgage Brokers are mostly small business owners who potentially could lose their businesses and their staff could lose their jobs. In almost three decades, the mortgage broking industry has brought competition to the Australian finance market, and today more than half of all home loans in Australia originate with a mortgage broker. If you're part of that statistic, or if you just value choice and competition in the finance sector, please pledge your support for this petition to ensure it is noticed by our Federal Government. Update: Over 50,000 have signed this petition - that's potentially 50,000 votes for any party or Senator who supports us.
“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
Pass Australian Glass-Steagall Bill to break up the banks
To the Commonwealth Parliament: Pass Australian Glass-Steagall Bill to break up the banks The Financial Services Royal Commission’s exposure of banking misconduct and crimes proves that the banks must be broken up. Traditional commercial banking, of taking deposits and making loans, should not mix with investment banking, insurance, stock broking, funds management, financial advice, superannuation, hedge funds and private equity funds. These activities expose banks and their deposits to risks, and their cross-promotion by banks is a conflict of interest that makes customers vulnerable to exploitation. Australia needs a Glass-Steagall separation of commercial banks from all other financial activities. The USA’s Glass-Steagall Act protected Americans from financial crises for the 66 years it was in force, from 1933 to 1999. Parliament must pass the Australian Glass-Steagall legislation drafted by CEC Australia, the Banking System Reform (Separation of Banks) Bill 2018, which Bob Katter MP has announced he will introduce as a Private Member’s Bill, to break up the banks and protect bank customers and their savings.
PROTECT OUR WATER AND OUR FOOD BOWLS
BAN FRACKING & CSG UNCONDITIONALLY NATIONWIDE
Water and food security is being placed at risk here in Australia because governments continue to industrialise our agricultural land and allow the resources sector to pollute our surface and groundwater. It is time to demand action not just on climate change, as action to protect our food bowls is also urgently needed. We need a national food and water security policy. Fracking gas and CSG projects are the biggest threat to a sustainable Australia because these projects pollute all surrounding water sources, including aquifers, contaminate air quality, soil and compromise the ability of landowners to produce clean food, as does conventional gas on prime agriculture land. With over 50% of prime production land in the NT and 2% in WA equating to a land mass the size of Tasmania, approved for fracking, as well as, CSG projects being approved in Queensland and NSW, along with conventional gas wells being drilled in the middle of prime agricultural land in SA, our national food and water security is being placed at risk. One shale or tight gas well requires between 15 to 30 million litres of clean water over the life time of the well. With 100s and 1000s of wells being planned for Australia, we simply don't have that kind of water to spare in the direst inhabited continent on the planet. Well casing failure leads to water contamination, making water undrinkable and unsuitable for food production. We simply can't afford this industry our water is too precious because all wells fail eventually. A gas company in WA contaminated a water source with radiation and the recommended resolution from the gas company, was to feed the contaminated drinking water to livestock. This is livestock that would have entered our food chain. In Queensland CSG projects are compromising a farmer's ability to produce clean food for Australians because their water bores have either dried up or have been contaminated by nearby CSG projects. The UN Resolution 64/292....states, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognised the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights. The United Nations Charter defines democracy as “ a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives” Our request is also supported by the United Nations Human Rights International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. PART I Article 1 1. “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. PART III Article 21. 3. “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government”.
The hiring of specialist trained Gender Surgeons in each Australian State and Territory
To the honourable members of the Australian Parliament, I, Elizabeth Kazon, an Intersex Transgender Female, and my fellow LGBTQIA+ individuals, allies and supporters, call upon you to without delay hire surgeons within the Medicare public health system to perform sex reassignment surgeries, thus making these certified Life Saving Surgeries, affordable for all Transgender and Intersex Australians. Within Australia, Medicare pays a rebate for some Male to Female Sex Reassignment Surgeries and some Female to Male Sex Reassignment Surgeries, however as there isn’t the possibility to have these surgeries performed in the public health system, private surgeons have a virtual monopoly, making these necessary surgeries unaffordable for a majority of Transgender and Intersex individuals. Furthermore, advancements are being made in these surgeries, however there is no opportunity for the private surgeons to learn and use these new techniques as they are constantly backlogged with patients who have no alternatives. The approximate cost in Australia to have a Penile Inversion Vaginoplasty is $18’000 excluding aftercare, fights and accommodation. A new surgery, the Peritoneum Pull-Through Vaginoplasty has been pioneered and is being performed oversees for approximately $20’000-$40’000 USD. This cost is relatively affordable when compared to the $100’000+ payable to have Phalloplasty performed in Australia. These prices are unaffordable, and it should be offered within the public system. In addition, it is with great conviction that we also believe that breast enhancement, breast reduction, Buttocks enhancement and buttocks reduction should also be performed for those holding a valid Intersex or Transgender Diagnosis as such procedures have been proven to greatly improve Transgender and Intersex individuals’ mental health. We the undersigned call upon you, the Australian Parliament, to without delay, put pressure on the individual states and territories to hire and train 1 specialist surgeon per capital city in Australia plus at least 4 specialist nurses to assist them. These surgeons collectively should be proficient in the following new and older techniques to meet the needs of the Transgender and Intersex Individuals of Australia: · Peritoneum Pull-Through Vaginoplasty, · Sigmoid Colon Vaginoplasty, · Penile Inversion Vaginoplasty, · Facial Feminization Surgery, · Voice Feminization Surgery, · Tracheal Shave, · Breast and Buttock Augmentation, · Mastectomy, · Hysterectomy, · Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy, · Metoidplasty, · Phalloplasty. Yours with hope,
Transplant medications to be free for Australian transplant patients
As the partner of a transplant receipient ( kidney) I am acutely aware of the burden that the out of pocket expenses for transplant recipients in relation to their ongoing care of their transplant. An Australian article titled " Quantifying the medication burden of kidney transplant recipients in the first year post‑transplantation". This article outlines that during the study period of nine months the out of pocket costs for those without a health care card was $916. 85. When you average this out over 12 months that equates on average to $1,222.46. This amount does not meet the Medicare safety net Threshold for a couple. Deceased transplants are an altruistic gift, and they should not be compromised by the cost of medications to ensure they remain viable. It is known that some people opt to cut back on their immunosuppression medication (to save money), with catastrophic consequences. These medications should be made available for free to ensure that this gift of an organ is not compromised.
Arrium - Call for independent review, protect national interest
Is Arrium going to be the biggest insolvency failure in Australian corporate history upon which the voluntary administration effectively orchestrated liquidation of an extremely profitable company?The justice and equity rights of the workers, trade creditors, shareholders and the national interest will be effectively taken away by dissolving a profitable and prosperous company.The Australian Insolvency Laws should not be seen to be authorising a sale or re-organisation thereby eliminating the equity interest of shareholders, the public interest, the employment conditions of workers by dissolving a prosperous company.Before it is all too late, before the mistake is officially rubber-stamped, for the benefits of all stakeholders, it is prudent to instigate an independent review of the sale strategy to overseas buyer with specific focus on: Extent of damage to jobs and workers conditions Impacts to national interest including pricing control, competition, defence, tax, economic and regulatory sovereignty Financial impacts to trade creditors and financing lenders It is utterly irresponsible if the governments, both in South Australia and in the federal level, do not commission such an independent assessment as prerequisite and as part of the due diligence before extending their supports to the current sale strategy to transfer the strategic steel, mining and ports assets to overseas buyer. Thank you for the urgent attention on this important national issue! Arrium Shareholders United (ASU) ASU Email: email@example.com ASU Website: http://arrium-asu.wix site.com/fight-for-justice ASU Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com /arriumasu/ ASU Facebook Group: https://web.facebook.co m/groups/1741774889431739
Stop Prof Henry Woo and those who publicly disparage Dr Charlie Teo
Dr Charlie Teo, hailed as one of Australia’s most respectable brain surgeons, has been working tirelessly to help many people with brain tumours to have a chance of survival against all odds. On May 23, 2019, Professor Henry Woo, a urologist from the University of Sydney, took to Twitter and wrote a very disparaging comment about Dr Charlie Teo. We don't think it's professionally appropriate for Prof Woo to do this, and we think he should retract this public comment and apologize to Dr Teo. Prof Woo said: "Something is seriously wrong if a terminally ill girl with a brain tumour has to raise $120K to have surgery Dr Charlie Teo has offered to do for $60-80K. If it was valid surgery, it could/should be performed in the public system under Medicare"; and "On a search on GoFundMe for “Charlie Teo” there are 113 campaigns listed, that mention him as the surgeon for which donations are sought to pay for his services. I find this really disturbing." Dr Charlie Teo had to come out to defend himself against this public spat. On Channel 9's The Today Show, Dr Teo explained how false and misleading Prof Woo's claims were. “So, for example, that $120,000 bill that Henry Woo is talking about, $80,000 to the private hospital. $40,000 then gets dispersed among not only the surgeon, the assistant, anaesthetist, pathologist, radiologist, radiographer.” Dr Teo said. Of the 120 thousand dollars, Dr Teo claimed he received only 8 thousand dollars. At the HPARA conference in Canberra on June 8, 2019, Dr Teo explained that of the 113 campaigns listed, only two were related to funding for the private neurosurgery while others were about raising funds for his foundations and other non-surgical matters. Dr Teo reportedly said the governing bodies used different methods to carry out "a purge" including sham peer reviews, creating a hostile work environment and financial attacks against independent physicians. This kind of overwhelming prejudice and vilification against Dr Teo could see him leaving the Australian healthcare system which will be a great loss to Australians who needed his expertise and service. A petition is currently urging the Minister of Health to invite Dr Teo to work in the public hospitals to operate on difficulty brain tumours that other neurosurgeons are unable to or unwilling to operate. The outpouring of support for Dr Teo is phenomenal with over 123,000 people signing this petition. We now heard that his patient, Amelia Lucas, who was the subject of this debacle is now recovering from the brain surgery Dr Teo performed, and we pray for her speedy recovery. Without Dr Teo’s effort, the only option for patients like Amelia would be palliative care with a high likelihood of dying within months. So, after patients were told by public surgeons that their condition was inoperable, who should decide for these patients on whether they should / could have private surgery or not? Hon Mr Greg Hunt, our Minister of Health, was reportedly saying “he shared the concerns of medical colleges about the ‘small minority’ of specialists overcharging and causing ‘material financial harm to patients’ through out-of-pocket medical fees." We want the Minister of Health, the regulators - AHPRA and the Medical Board, and the College of Surgeons (RACS) to address the public as to whether it is professionally appropriate for a professor of urology to publicly criticise and disparage a private neurosurgeon on social media? Why is Dr Teo blamed for the high fees when most of the medical costs went to the private hospital and other specialists other than Dr Teo? Why patients like Amelia cannot access public healthcare or government funding when so much of our tax-payer money has already been spent on running our expensive public hospitals? Is Dr Teo expected to cover the costs of private treatment on behalf of his patients? We ask whether or not the conduct of Prof Woo constitutes a breach of the Medical Code of Conduct for failure to show proper respect for Dr Charlie Teo and the autonomy (and privacy) of his patients. Under section 4.4: Respect for medical colleagues and other health care professionals, the Medical Code of Conduct stated: Good patient care is enhanced when there is mutual respect and clear communication between all health care professionals involved in the care of the patient. Good medical practice involves: 4.2.1 Communicating clearly, effectively, respectfully and promptly with other doctors and health care professionals caring for the patient; and 4.2.2 Acknowledging and respecting the contribution of all health care professionals involved in the care of the patient. Dr Charlie Teo did not refer his patients to Prof Woo for opinion, and neither his patients wanted Prof Woo's interference. As a urologist, Prof Woo has overstepped his scope of expertise and professional boundary by criticising a brain surgeon and his patients' autonomy, and worse still, made misleading claims with the intent to disparage Dr Teo's reputation. Prof Woo failed to provide any effective solution to help Dr Teo's patients, and clearly failed to respect Dr Teo’s integrity and professionalism. We, the members of the public, are outraged about this and would urge the Australian government and regulatory bodies to address this ugly and unprofessional conduct of Prof Woo and those who supported this kind of professional bullying. We ask whether Prof Woo's conduct has brought the medical profession into disrepute and whether he should be stripped off his professor title and given proper disciplinary action in accordance with the professional standards expected by the public. The public deserves respect from the medical professional bodies to make their own decision as to what kind of treatment they want, and doctors like Dr Charlie Teo who respected their patients’ choice should not be threatened, mistreated or distracted from acting in their patients’ best interest and from carrying out their duty of care.