- 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 ‘LGBTQA+ Conversion’ therapy now!
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 LGBTQA+ 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 LGBTQA+ 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
Funding Fairness for Ovarian Cancer Research
I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in February 2016. Surprisingly, my treatment was the same they've been giving women for 50 years: de-bulking surgery followed by brutal chemotherapy. Quite typically my cancer relapsed before Christmas 2016, making me terminal. Why? There is no cure for relapsed ovarian cancer. I was horrified to learn this and think it's pretty outrageous. Our ovaries are the very essence of life and yet when it comes to cancer they are stuck with decades-old treatment and a shocking prognosis. Ovarian cancer has a 46% five year survival rate. Compared to the 91% survival rate of breast cancer we are lagging way behind. For me this means that I'm not going to survive to share significant life milestones, like my daughter's graduation, her marriage, her first child. As a single mother, I find this cruel and terrifying. I have come to know many single and married mums who are living with this fear as they deal with the realities of their ovarian cancer. And there's a common reaction - if I had breast cancer the chances of me surviving would be doubled. How unfair. Breast cancer receives four times as much funding as ovarian cancer, and corporate funding is almost endless. Money pays for research. Research provides better outcomes. It's pretty simple. Ovarian cancer takes the lives of 1,000 Australian women every year but is one of the most under-funded cancers receiving four times LESS than breast cancer. I applaud the tremendous outcomes in the fight against breast cancer and believe that with similar commitment and resources we can achieve the same success for ovarian cancer. That's why we need funding fairness - to give women with ovarian cancer a fighting chance to be here for our children and our grandchildren, to continue to contribute to society rather than be taken before our time just because society did not see ovaries as important as breasts. Please sign and share my petition as I call on the government and donors to look below the waist when it comes to cancer funding and give researchers the money they need to come up with a screening test, clinical trials and better treatment options for ovarian cancer. www.pinkmeetsteal.com If you want to donate directly to Pink Meets Teal, you can do so via Fearless Flowers: https://timelesstextiles.com.au/product/fearless-flowers-ovarian-cancer-donation/
Don't send the Nahal family back to certain danger in Egypt
Tony Nahal is a fine, upstanding member of the Australian community, an extremely valuable and trusted employee of an Australian small business, a wonderful husband and family man, and father to a six-year-old daughter who was born on Australian soil and has never been to the country for which she is imminently destined. Tony's family are Coptic Christians who came to this country seeking asylum from assault and abuse in what is an overwhelmingly Islamic country. After seven years of processing their application for Asylum, the Nahals are being deported back to Egypt, where right now Coptic Christians are being slaughtered by Egyptian police. Their entire lives, their jobs, Rita's school, friends, and country of birth, are here, under the Southern Cross. The Minister for Immigration can intervene and stop this senseless and cruel deportation, and we call upon The Honourable Chris Bowen MP, Member for McMahon, Federal Minister for Immigration, to do so, in the name of Australians, small businesses, families, and children born on Australian soil, just like me.
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.
A Royal Commission into Australia’s regulation of “Medical Devices”
Mesh Awareness Australia, Breast Implant Illness Australia and New Zealand and Essure Problems Australia and New Zealand are calling for a Royal Commission into Australia’s archaic regulation of medical devices. 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), Breast Implants, Birth Control Devices (Essure, IUD’s), Stents, Hip Implants 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)In 2018, an ABC investigation reported that 90 per cent of the highest risk medical devices were all approved without clinical trials because they were assessed as ‘sufficiently similar’ to existing products. (2) 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.(3) 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, Breast Implants, Essure Birth Control were all approved throughout the world without any clinical evidence of their safety and efficacy. For Example one Urogynecological Mesh device the Intravagnal Sling (IVS) was heavily marketed to women by the Australian Medical Assoiation, yet was only tested on 13 large dogs before being approved and implanted into women(4). Furthermore, the Therapeutic Goods Administration will not disclose to patients like women with Breast Implants, or men and women with Surgical Mesh the exact materials or chemicals that are contained in their device, due to confidentiality agreements with the suppliers. In addition, 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.(1,3) 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.(3) 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. Unfortunately this is the case for all the women who have been implanted with Essure birth control devices. Although the device was recalled in August 2017 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the hundreds of women that were implanted with this device have never been directly informed or contacted. This means that those Australian’s like the Essure women 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 apply for early access their or their partners superannuation. Furthermore, the majority have been forced to live in debilitating pain, barely surviving financially with exorbitant medical costs. Unfortunately many are unable to work due to their complications and those that are unable to work are denied disability pensions. Essentially manufacturers have been given permission by our regulatory authorities and governments to walk away from their moral, ethical and financial responsibility. 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, Breast Implant Illness Australia and New Zealand and Essure Problems Australia and New Zealand all believe that a Royal Commission is urgently needed to expose and change this archaic regulatory system.We all would like to see urgent reforms to Australia’s regulation of Medical Devices. Reforms that include1. Classify all implantable medical devices as class lll High Risk 2. Mandatory reporting of all complications by medical practitioners, nurses and hospitals. 3. Manufacturers required to track and report how many medical devices are in use.4. National independent database for all implantable devices that is independent of the manufacturers and The Therapeutic Goods Administration. A database that requires mandatory reporting by medical practitioners, nurses and hospitals. A database that is open to the public. a database that tracks the full range of health problems affecting patients.5. Monitoring and transparency around medical practitioners and hospitals disclosures of conflict of interests to patients. 6. The TGA to END current ‘proprietary information’ legal agreements, that allow regulators and manufacturers to withhold implant materials to patients and surgeons alike. This includes withholding all ingredients and chemicals that are contained in both silicone and saline breast implants and coatings used for surgical mesh. 7. Overhaul of informed consent procedures by medical practitioners. Introduction of penalties for medical practitioners who do not obtain informed consent. Furthermore an understanding that informed consent is more than a patient’s signature on their operation paperwork. If you want to see changes in how medical devices are approved and regulated in Australia please sign our petition. Australians must be protected.Amendment: 18.02.19*We are pleased that Breast Implant Illness Australia and New Zealand has joined us in our petition.You can access their closed facebook group in the link below https://www.facebook.com/groups/BreastImplantIllnessAustraliaNZ/ AndEssure Problems Australia and New Zealand has joined us in our petitionYou can access their closed facebook group in the link belowhttps://m.facebook.com/groups/995375637192617/You can also access Mesh Awareness Australia’s public facebook page in the link belowhttps://m.facebook.com/meshawarenessaustralia/ 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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001276 2.Mario Christodoulou, Alison Branley, Sophie Scott. (2018) The Implant Files, ABC Newshttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/implant-files-shine-light-on-medical-device-industry/10521480 3. Rita Redberg: (2017) ‘FDA proposal to delay reporting of device malfunctions “should be tossed”’, The Cancer Letter. https://cancerletter.com/articles/20170728_3/ 4. 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/ 3. Rita Redberg: (2017) ‘FDA proposal to delay reporting of device malfunctions “should be tossed”’, The Cancer Letter. https://cancerletter.com/articles/20170728_3/ 4. 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/
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.
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”.