Today I wanted to say a few words to mark the 10th anniversary of my election to parliament.
Milestones are always a cause for reflection. The passage of time reminds us that it is a precious and limited commodity and we have to make the most of it.
Those who seek election to this place, from both sides of the aisle, do so out of a desire to make a contribution, a real difference. But each of us truly stands on the shoulders of others—from our families, our staff and our branch members, through to every individual who takes part in our great democracy on election day.
The best way that we can thank them is by working hard to make a difference.
Upgrading the M1 from Mudgeeraba to Tugun, building stage 3 of the light rail to Burleigh, forward planning for the extension of the heavy rail to the Gold Coast airport and the many grants to community groups, sporting clubs, RSLs and our iconic Currumbin Wildlife Hospital are achievements that belong to everyone who has backed me along the way.
There’s a lot to be proud of, but one of the instances that remains front of mind for me truly demonstrates why I entered parliament. The story starts when Patrick Wallas, the headmaster of All Saints Anglican School, emailed me about 17-year-old Bianca, who had been diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening disease that damages vital organs such as the kidneys, heart and brain.
The drug that would save Bianca’s life wasn’t listed on the PBS. Bianca’s mother was facing the prospect of paying up to $385,000 for six months of treatment to save her daughter.
After months of petitioning and negotiations, former senator Barry O’Sullivan and I secured a joint state and federal government funding agreement to have the drug listed on the PBS.
Bianca is now 24-years-old and working in Sydney as a yoga instructor. She still receives treatment each fortnight and is grateful for the quality of life that it affords her.
The drug Soliris is just one of the 2,400 the coalition has added to the PBS since 2013, and that speaks to our government’s priority, which is people.
We’ve invested $11.6 billion into the PBS so that, every day, Australians like Bianca can receive lifesaving treatment without the added stress of finding thousands of dollars. That’s why we fight and that’s why our government works very hard every day to manage the economy—so that we can afford to deliver support to those who need it.
As we deal with the many challenges of the global pandemic, I want to recommit myself both as a local member and as a minister to truly make a difference for my community and our nation.