21 days to go . . . are you going to join us in Canberra for the “We’re Still Here!” campaign?
We now have 25 Campaign Heroes joining with Polio Australia in Canberra on Wednesday 26th June, and our ranks may even be supported by some dedicated Canberra based Rotarians, which would be wonderful!
Last Tuesday 28th May, our profile was given a boost thanks to a question posed by Gillian Thomas (Polio Australia’s Vice President) on a special edition of Q&A featuring Bill Gates. As Bill Gates had just convinced the Australian government to commit $80 Million over 4 years to polio eradication – an unquestionably worthy project – Gillian’s question focussed on gleaning something from his capacity to influence governments, saying:
“No-one will celebrate polio’s eradication more than polio survivors; however, even after eradication there will still be millions of survivors worldwide requiring polio services for up to 80 years. What strategies will get governments to shoulder their responsibility and fund essential post-polio services?”
If you missed Q&A, you can catch Gillian’s full question here.
Following Bill Gates’ visit and the Q&A program, there was a discussion in Parliament on the topic of Polio Eradication. Gratifyingly, a number of Ministers spoke up about Australia’s post-polio community, including The Hon Greg Hunt MP, one of Polio Australia’s Parliamentary Patrons. We were delighted to note that Greg’s comments to House included the following:
“My specific contribution is to call for and propose the inquiry into post-polio syndrome, its extent, its impact and the steps forward which we can take if not in this parliament then in the next parliament.” (read more here)
This was followed by a comment from Julie Owens MP stating:
“A large number of polio survivors in Australia still live with the pain and debilitation of that post-polio syndrome. A number have spoken to me lately about their increasing difficulty as they age. So the previous speaker is quite right in that we do have a lot of work to do to recognise the circumstances of polio survivors in our own country.”
Yet another Member, Michael McCormack MP, mentioned:
“Last year, I was able to meet Isabel Thompson, a constituent of mine from Wagga Wagga, to discuss funding needs for those living with polio. Mrs Thompson gave me an insight into the challenges she faces daily and the importance of ensuring assistance is available to help those living with polio.”
The message is clear – our campaigning is making a difference!
Now, more than ever, we encourage you to contact your local Federal Member of Parliament and tell them a delegation from Polio Australia will be at Parliament House on Wednesday 26th June. Let them know they are welcome to join us at an informative Morning Tea and Forum. Make sure you tell us who you have invited and we will follow up with an official invitation.
While you’re at it, why not download and send them a “Polio Tree” leaf, letting them know you are part of a much larger ‘family’!
Still looking for your Parliamentary representative? Find contact details for all Federal Members of Parliament here.
Contact Mary-ann for more information and/or to add your name to the list of campaign heroes heading to Canberra!