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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11786

Mrs MOYLAN (4:18 PM) —Saturday, 14 November was World Diabetes Day. All over the world iconic buildings were lit in blue. In fact, there were some 600 iconic buildings, including this Parliament House and Old Parliament House. In virtually every state, buildings were lit in blue. This dramatic backdrop highlighted the global challenge of the rising scourge of diabetes within our communities. The theme for the day was ‘Understand diabetes and take control’.

Last month, in Canada, the International Diabetes Federation met and a new president was elected to carry on its work around the globe. The person handing over the baton to the new president, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya was Professor Martin Silink AM, an Australian endocrinologist whose life work has been in the field of diabetes. In his work as Chairman of the International Diabetes Federation, Professor Silink led the campaign in 2006 to unite for diabetes. This campaign was hugely successful and it included the landmark passage of the United Nations Resolution 61/225 on diabetes. It was supported by this parliament and by the government of the time. The resolution recognised that diabetes poses a severe risk to families, member states and the whole world. It declared 14 November to be a United Nations-observed World Diabetes Day.

This day commenced in 2007 and now calls on all countries to develop national policies for the prevention, care and treatment of diabetes. No one should ever underestimate the enormous challenge it was to get the United Nations member countries to agree to such a resolution. One can only begin to imagine the enormous amount of work that took. This was in no small part due to the commitment and the energy and indeed the knowledge of Professor Silink who was tireless in his pursuit of achieving this outcome. I think that, as a country, we can be very proud to have people of the calibre of Martin Silink, who was the first President of the International Diabetes Federation from Australia. I think this is the first opportunity we have had in this place to mark World Diabetes Day and on behalf of the Parliamentary Diabetes Support Group, I want to pay tribute to the work of Professor Silink as the immediate past president of the IDF and thank him for all that he has achieved as president. I would just like to take the opportunity to wish the new President of the International Diabetes Federation, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, all the best for his term in that important office.