Decision Maker

Roger Cook

  • WA Deputy Premier, Minister for Health; Mental Health

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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

Chris Csabs
56,195 supporters
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Hon. Francis (Fran) Michael Logan MLA, Roger Cook

Give Advanced Breast Cancer Patients a Health Care Card so we can afford to live!

My name is Michelle McKenna and I am 50 years Old. At the age of 48, I was diagnosed with stage 4, breast cancer. There is no cure for this as it has already travelled through my body to my Spine, ribs, lymph nodes and liver. I am terminally ill and I am dying. I am a Wife, Mother, Sister, Aunty, daughter and Grandmother to 3 fantastic grandchildren. I need to be here for them, to enjoy their lives for as long as possible. Living with cancer, knowing it is terminal is horrendous and expensive. I take 7 different medications a day to stay alive and combat side effects. Although these tablets are on the pbs, at between $15-38 per prescription, it is a costly illness. I also have to attend many specialist appointments whose costs are not covered by private health insurance and receive very little rebate from Medicare. I have to work 2 days a week to cover the cost of the medications that keep me alive. My husband is in the defence force, defends our country and I still have to pay for private health insurance. I live with the fear that at some point I wont be able to afford the medications that keep me alive as I will have to give up work when I am too ill to continue. As it is I have so much time off work for appointments, that I can go weeks without receiving any wages. I am pleading with the Minister for Health to help me and my fellow cancer sisters out by providing us with a health care card to help reduce the cost of our medications. The financial burden on my family is taking its toll and I don't know how long we can keep going for.    

Michelle McKenna
10,207 supporters
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Hon Michael Ferguson, Hon Jill Hennessy, Hon Brad Hazzard, Hon Meegan Fitzharris, Hon Roger Cook, Hon Peter Malinauskas, Hon Natasha Fyles, Dr Michael Gannon, Steven Miles

Stand for change Army Against Stillbirth

Every day in Australia 6 babies are dying. We do not see it, these deaths are hidden, these deaths are silent – these babies are stillborn. Stillbirth is not inevitable, rather it can often be prevented. Yet rates have not changed in 20 years. Stillbirth is 14 times more common than SIDS. Stillbirth is double the amount of national road toll. Stillbirth is the number one cause of death among infants in Australia. This is not ok – we want change. The Army Against Stillbirth is community standing united against stillbirth. A monthly silent vigil, a peaceful protest for change. The 6th of September 2017 marks the start of this silent protest Australia wide. The Australian Medical Association need to take action and make change. The government need to step in. Obstetricians, clinicians and antenatal carers need to step up. Stillbirth is the number 1 cause of death among infants in Australia and yet we shy away from talking about it. That is not ok. 6 babies every day, 42 babies every week, 182 babies every month, 2200 babies every year! It’s time to stand up for what’s right. These babies cannot speak for themselves so Still Aware are leading a silent vigil in their honour. A silent protest towards change. Everyone is invited to join the Army Against Stillbirth and proudly stand together and sign this petition for these babies, in hopes that this visual can help guide the change further. ____________ When Claire went to hospital after nine months of waiting, it was excitement and anticipation she felt at the thought of meeting her new baby girl. She had everything ready, the nursery was set up, tiny baby clothes ironed, soft toys carefully placed on the shelves, baby bath and massage oils, even the car seat was installed ready to bring her daughter home. The world came crashing down for the entire family with three little words “there’s no heartbeat”. Incomprehensible. Impossible. Nothing prepared her for what was next. She laboured for 24 hours, utter agony but no physical pain, she birthed her perfect little girl in deafening silence. Her daughter Alfie was stillborn. With no illness or abnormality, she was born, but without breath. The moments, hours, days and weeks that followed were filled with isolation and utter agony of what ifs. Why had no one told her stillbirth was a possibility? Had they, Alfie would be here. Claire knew her little girl so well and instinctively knew something didn’t feel right. Yet she wasn't given the tools to keep her baby safe. She didn’t know that 5 words, “my baby’s movements have changed” could have prevented those 3 painful words forever echoing in her mind, “there’s no heartbeat”. Was it a lack of communication that killed her baby? Don’t we deserve better? ________________ We are asking for: 1. Mandated policy2. Coronial Jurisdiction3. Access to information for all Please sign this petition and join the force driving change and raising awareness of stillbirth and preventable measures. Your signature can help save babies lives - 50% of stillbirths are preventable. Together, we can create change!

Still Aware
5,345 supporters
Petitioning Roger Cook

Scrap the 'Expert Medical Advisory Committee' required in WA to access Medical Cannabis !!

Dear Minister Cook, Thank you for recently endorsing the access to WA patients for medical cannabis which I fully support for my patients. There is a large amount of political and public support for this matter. As per your press release, I query the necessity of a WA based expert advisory committee to oversee this. Being a schedule 8 medication it is already subject to oversight. Further the committee would be an expensive duplication of federal approvals for medical cannabis already being overseen by the TGA in the Special Access scheme which requires a large amount of paperwork as well as ethics approval to be submitted before a prescription can be written.  Evidence shows that cannabis is lower than caffeine on the addiction scale and almost impossible to overdose on. Being available in pharmacies via prescription in capsules/liquids will greatly prevent diversion. There are a number of conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain and nausea, multiple sclerosis, PTSD and Parkinsons Disease that are being investigated for efficacy. I ask you to consider dropping the expert medical advisory committee as it is not in the public interest and an unnecessary hurdle for vulnerable patients. Yours sincerely    

Medical Cannabis Research Australia
3,916 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Roger Cook, National Eating Disorders Collaboration, waedocs

New Perth eating disorder unit inpatient and outpatients for ages 16+

Many adolescents 16 years and up as well as adults are sufferers of various and dangerous eating disorders which has the highest mortality rate in all mental illnesses in which many are not receiving the specialist care they need. Princess Margaret/Perth children’s hospital stop admitting people into there programs  over 16 years of age leaving those struggling left with public hospitals that don’t specialise in the condition without the right treatment care and approach and those without private health insurance cannot receive the inpatient or outpatient support they deserve. We have one specialist outpatient and that is the centre for clinical interventions (CCI) in which don’t provide inpatient/ medical health and only can have people in there program if they are in recovery or working towards it and not medically declining which to do so is very common in a eating disorder. Many of us go into adulthood still battling these illnesses and are at a loss of support and get lost within the public hospitals because staff do not know enough about eating disorders or how to approach them. If we open up a new clinic or unit for disorder patients over 16 to adults  in the same way that the eating disorder program is run at Perth children’s hospital which is fantastic and a effective program  where The inpatient program works on less lengthy admissions for the children's education and mental health, normalizing eating, improving the psychological barriers, supplying distractions, such as positive activities and providing a team of staff with a strong understanding on the illness. As an inpatients patients are given access too  •Psychologists •physiatrists•Physiologists•dietitians•a care coordinator •occupational therapists •specialist doctors and nurses• and more to support them on patients on their road to recovery •Meal support, group therapy and schooling/ education  are just a few more of the critical elements that are lacking from the public adult inpatient facilities which don't  have a program for patients with eating disorders . The public system for eating disorder patients requiring inpatient care  are unfortunately very uneducated on the illnesses and in truth quite poorly.  If we don’t do anything about this serious and growing illness and proper treatment regime and units then many will be left to be lost in the health system treated poorly and have a higher risk of relapse and death. YOU can make a difference by signing this petition : to allow many of the teenagers and adults including myself able to receive the specialist care as it’s desperately needed which will aid in health and recovery and bring greater outcomes with eating disorder full recovery and a possible decrease in mortality rates. 

Katie Jane
2,210 supporters
Petitioning Roger Cook, Dr David Russell-Weisz, Philip Alyward, Graeme Boardley

Implementation of Private Access Model for Midwives

From January 1 2011, the National Maternity Services Plan came into effect. The Plan, which was endorsed by Australian Health Ministers in December 2010, contains four priority areas- Access, Service delivery, Workforce and Infrastructure. Action 1.2 of the plan - Increase access for Australian women and their family members to local maternity care by expanding the range of models of care contains the following element: -   Jurisdictions develop consistent approaches to the provision of clinical privileges within public maternity services, to enable admitting and practice rights for eligible midwives and medical practitioners. This has yet to happen in WA and denies women and their families the right to utilize their private health insurance and receive their entitlement to a medicare rebate for their birth with a private midwife. We demand the implementation of this model of care, for all women that choose to engage a private midwife as their primary care provider, regardless of their risk. Any other incarnation of this model is not effective.   Other Australian states have successfully implemented this private midwifery model, with research clearly demonstrating improved outcomes and increased satisfaction for women and babies.

Melissa Singer
2,054 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Roger Cook

Cannabis for Caitlin

Caitlin is a teenager who was diagnosed with severe uncontrolled epilepsy at 4 years old, however her developmental decline began at 18 months. She currently experiences 4 different types of generalised seizures (Tonic Clonic, Tonic, Myoclonic and Absent), which involve her whole brain. Although Caitlin is medicated, she still experiences multiple seizures on a daily basis. Every day Caitlin is required to take 9 different medications, totaling to 23.5 tablets to try and manage her seizures. Medical professionals have previously applied for a funded clinical trial, however this was declined by the previous Health Minister. This petition has been created to ask the Western Australian Minister for Health, Honourable Roger Cook MLA, to approve a medicinal cannabis oil trial/provide funding for Western Australian children, like Caitlin, suffering from severe uncontrolled epilepsy. 

Sarah S
1,191 supporters
Petitioning The Hon. Minister for Mental Health; Roger Cook MLA, Learne Durrington; CEO WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA)

Mental Health Friendly GP's for WA Community

In a media release by WAPHA that month, Chair Dr Richard Choong called for a more fully integrated primary mental health care model to support GPs to provide mental health care, with additional support from specialised services when required. Read the media release here. Last week CoMHWA was contacted by several of our members with news of the closure of Mooro Drive. Mooro Drive, delivered by 360 Health and Community, was established in February 2015 and is the first and only dedicated GP practice in WA to meet the physical health care needs of people with a history of mental health issues. It is estimated around 600 consumers will be affected when the service closes next Friday (8th September 2017) following the defunding of the service earlier this year. CoMHWA has liaised with 360 Health and Community, North Metro Health Service Mental Health Service (collaborating agency), funding body WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), the Parliamentary Secretary assisting the Minister for Mental Health regarding the closure and steps that are being taken to minimise the impact on consumers. Last month saw the release of the Equally Well National Consensus Statement by the National Mental Health Commission, and it is now seeking pledges from organisations across Australia to improve the physical health of people living with mental illness. Read the Equally Well statement here. CoMHWA sees mental health GP clinics as an essential component among primary care options for people with lived experience of mental health issues, and as important to addressing the major gaps in life expectancy and health of people with mental illness. We are disappointed by news of the upcoming closure of WA’s only Mental Health GP centre. We seek urgent commitment from WAPHA to ensure mental health friendly primary GP clinics remain available for the Perth community.  

492 supporters
Petitioning Coralee O'Rourke, Brad Hazzard, Tanya Davies, Jill Hennessy, Michael Ferguson, Jack Snelling, Roger Cook, Greg Hunt MP, Ken Wyatt, David Gillespie

Fibromyalgia Is Real And Need To Be Declaired A Dissability.

Fibromyalgia is a horrific debilitating condition. It destroys life as you know it. We need Fibromyalgia to be declaired a dissability. Many Fibro patients are either forced into working or left on basic payment like Newstart that make it impossible for patients to live once medications and medical costs are paid.  In many circumstances Centrelink declair us unable to work, however they will not approve a DSP application.  There are hundreds of symptoms that coincide with Fibromyalgia from pain, fatigue, memory, depression, unable to regulate your body temperature plus many many more. Plus there are many other invisible illnesses that coincide with Fibromyalgia. We have multipul conditions never just fibro. Migrains, Lupus, Restless Legs, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Pelvic Pain, Bladder Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Vision, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome just to name a few.  Then there's the darkness we face of suicide, because living in constant pain is no fun. It's depressing and very lonely not having support from our medical professionals and government departments like Centrelink.  Studies find commonalities in people that are more prone to suicide attempts and completed suicides. The list of characteristics includes: Being a woman. Men complete suicide four times more, but women are three times more likely to attempt suicide.Chronic pain — regardless of the source.Poor psychological health marked by high levels of depression and anxiety or low self-esteem.Poor sleep, which includes trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, poor sleep continuity, and poor quality of sleep.If you look at these four characteristics, an association should become clear between factors that lead to suicide and symptoms of fibromyalgia. Even more interesting is the idea that people with fibro will have more thoughts and attempts of suicide than other groups with chronic pain. The multiple layers and dimensions of fibro lead to a more negative impact that chronic pain alone.  

Invisible Illnesses Are Real
453 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Roger Cook, MLA., Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Hon. Michael Murray MLA, Hon. David Alan Templeman MLA

Save the current Warren District Hospital from demolition.

TO THE HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH: Please call an immediate halt to planned demolition of the Warren District Hospital. We strongly believe that demolishing the current Warren District Hospital will affect our community greatly. The use of this large facility could help to address many issues we have in the Warren area. We have many elderly people awaiting aged care at Moonya (the only aged care facility in town). These people are in hospital which creates extra pressure on the hospital system and we are concerned as to what will happen to the frail elderly when the current hospital is demolished. Mental health in our town is in crisis, as is drug and alcohol abuse. Often mental health patients are sent by ambulance or taxi to Bunbury, which is not suitable and adds extra pressure to Bunbury and puts a huge strain on our volunteer ambulance personnel. The need for safe houses, at times just a good night's rest for new mums, and for carers of those with special needs is always a need in our community. We have many young people with disabilities who need care and currently they end up in a nursing home which is wrong. Many community groups such as the dementia group need a facility where sufferers can go for the day to give them stimulation and give their carers respite. Medical specialists visit our current hospital on a regular basis and it is our understanding there is only limited space for visiting specialists in the new hospital. This is unacceptable as we need more medical specialists visiting the district, not less. The new hospital does not have a nursery - so where will sick babies go when a controlled, safe environment is needed? There is also a need for dialysis and palliative care facilities. These health needs are only the tip of the iceberg and there are many other things the existing hospital could be used for to benefit the Manjimup district. We ask you as the Western Australian Minister for Health to immediately halt the plans to demolish the Warren District Hospital and facilitate the development of services in this large complex which will keep loved ones in our community near their families and friends.   

Jill Woollams
331 supporters
“Praying the Gay Away” nearly killed me -- outlaw ‘Gay Conversion’ therapy

I am strongly opposed to and do not support the use of sexual orientation change efforts of any kind. The Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians are strongly against psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation, as is the Australian Psychological Society and Australian Psychological Association. Any public or private psychiatrist or psychologist practicing psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation may be in breach of their professional code of conduct and code of ethics and I strongly encourage the reporting of these breaches. Western Australians can report breaches to the Health and Disability Complaints Office (HaDSCO) at or by contacting the complaints and enquiries line: (08) 6551 7600. Alternatively, individuals can make a notification to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is responsible for the regulation and accreditation of psychologists and doctors in Australia. For instructions on how to make a notification please visit the AHPRA website at or call AHPRA on 1300 419 495. The counselling sectors are currently unregulated in Western Australia and counsellors are not required to be registered with an agency such as AHPRA to practice. This means reporting and identifying individuals and organisations practicing psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation is difficult. HaDSCO, Western Australia s Health and Disability Complaints Office is currently considering the adoption of the National Code of Conduct for health care workers. The National Code of Conduct sets minimum standards of conduct and practice for all unregistered health care workers. Psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation would likely be a breach of the National Code of Conduct and I will be raising this issue with HaDSCO. I am aware that the State of Victoria has passed the Health Complaints Act 2016 and established a Health Complaints Commissioner to handle complaints about both registered and non-registered general health service providers. I intend to examine the outcomes of the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner and determine if similar legislation is required in Western Australia. The health and wellbeing of the Western Australian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community is important to me and practices that attempt to change sexual orientation are abhorrent and negatively impact the mental health of LGBTI persons. I have committed funding for the development of an LGBTI health strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the specific health and mental health challenges experienced by LGBTI people. Here is the link on the announcement on the development of the strategy: Thank you for bringing this important matter to my attention.

7 months ago