Tabling Speeches

Inquiry into gynaecological cancer in Australia

Tabling Speeches

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Community Affairs Committee: Report Speech

Senator WEBBER (Western Australia) (11.20 a.m.)—I rise to make some brief remarks on this report. First, I would like to thank Senator Allison for bringing the issue to the attention of the Senate in the first place and for the work that she has done. I would also like to thank Senator Ferris not only for being the strongest voice on our committee but also for going that extra step and sharing her very personal journey with the entire Australian community. I would like to thank the committee secretariat, including one of our two token blokes, Elton Humphery. Of course the other token bloke on the inquiry was Senator Gary Humphries, who was chair halfway through the inquiry but deputy chair for the first bit. I would like to particularly place on record my thanks and, I am sure, our thanks, to Kerry and Kate, from the secretariat, for the magnificent job they have done.

I would like to thank Kath Mazzella and her team, again, and Ms Margaret Heffernan from Victoria for being the driving force behind the petition which Senator Allison first brought to the attention of this chamber and which initiated our journey. I would like to thank all of the experts who took time out of their very busy and committed lives to share their views on the path forward, particularly Professor Neville Hacker and Professor Rob Sutherland from Sydney. I would like to thank the Lymphoedema Association for bringing to us what is the other half of the silent journey that these women go on, making sure our committee was aware of the tragic side effects.

I particularly want to place on record my thanks to the women who appeared before us and shared a very personal and painful journey—not just Senator Ferris but many women, particularly Ms Tanya Smith from Western Australia. Her journey has been particularly confronting and difficult and I would really like to thank her for going public. Through the efforts of all of those women we now have a national voice. It is time for national action. I am sure that those of us on the committee, particularly the most powerful voice, Senator Ferris, will ensure that there is national action. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

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