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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 14046

Mr BYRNE (Holt) (10:21): I rise to acknowledge two very special young people who are battling type 1 diabetes, Tess Macartney and Nici Cairney. They have come to Parliament House this week as part of Kids in the House program run by Juveniles Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF, which as I understand is the world's largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research. This year the Kids in the House program has brought 100,000 Australians, including Tess and Nici, with type 1 diabetes to Parliament House to continue the ongoing public awareness and support for the type 1 or juvenile diabetes campaign.

Type 1 diabetes is an insidious disease that impacts on the lives of more than 100,000 Australians and their families. Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. It occurs more frequently than cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. It is important to be reminded when we are reflecting on the effects of type 1 diabetes to put yourself in the situation of children like Tess and Nici, who have to take multiple insulin injections daily and test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood four, five or more times per day, literally in order to stay alive. Despite the daily routine that both Tess and Nici have had to endure, I am proud to say that they have both become successful youth advocates who this year has been promoting the Promise to Remember Me campaign run by the JDRF which has seen them both, separately, meet with me earlier this year to promote more awareness of juvenile diabetes.

Due to her efforts Tess was presented with the National Young Volunteer of the Year award by the JDRF at last year's Walk to Cure Diabetes event at Albert Park for leading a successful campaign with her mother and staunch advocate, Mairi-Anne Macartney. Last year this led to the reinstatement of the carers allowance for families of children over 10 years old with type 1 diabetes. It was a strong grassroots, community led campaign. Tess and her mother are now advocating for better supervision of diabetic children at day care, kindergarten and school. According to Mairi-Anne many schools, including Tess's, no longer have a nurse so it is essential that teachers and other caregivers are trained to recognise danger signs. For Mairi-Anne and Tess the key now is to ensure that at least one person at each school is trained to assist children with type 1 diabetes taking multiple insulin injections and testing their blood sugar levels.

Both of these young citizens, if you want to use that terminology, and their parents are a credit to their community. They are lobbying very hard to increase awareness of type 1 diabetes and its effects and to ask for more investment in medical research. To that end I welcome in a bipartisan way the Leader of the Opposition's $30 million commitment today, as I understand it. I would like to commend these two brave young people. They are advancing the cause of this insidious disease and leading the way in promoting awareness and medical research into this disease. (Time expired)