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Remarks at the Harry Perkin Institute of Medical Research official opening, Perth



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PRIME MINISTEROF AUSTRALIA

THE HON TONY ABBOTT

REMARKS AT THE HARRY PERKINS INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH OFFICIAL OPENING Tuesday, 11 March 2014 Perth Prime Minister E&OE Ladies and gentlemen it is a real honour to be here today, it is an honour to be in the presence of the Governor, the Deputy Premier, the Lord Mayor, Minister Dutton and Minister Cormann, and so many people who have made a magnificent contribution to this building. When I became the Health Minister back in 2003 it was not a position that I’d ever coveted, ever craved, ever asked for, but it was in some ways the most satisfying four years of my public life because the great thing about the health sector is that everyone is in it for the right reasons. They’re not there for money, they’re not there for preference for advancement, they are there because they want to work for the betterment of mankind and you do work for the betterment of mankind - particularly those who are involved in health and medical research. Almost nothing changes our world like health and medical research. If we think back to our great grandparents’ times they were lucky to live to be 50 or 60. Today we can expect to live to be 80 or 90 and that change, that extraordinary opening of the world to all of us has been a function of advances in health treatment, it’s been due in large measure to the work of health and medical researchers such as the people whose work we honour today, the people who will be housed in this magnificent building behind us. We here in Australia are very, very good at health and medical research. Howard Florey - the inventor of penicillin - has probably been the Australian who had most impact on the wider world. We’ve had a cavalcade - particularly in recent times - of internationally recognised health and medical researchers. Eight of Australia’s 15 Nobel Prize winners have been in health and medical research and obviously I acknowledge and recognise and honour Professor Barry Marshall here with us today from the University of Western Australia. It’s very important to this Government, as it’s been very important to all governments that we continue to do what we can in health and medical research. I can assure everyone here today that having been a health minister for medical research, I am determined to be a Prime Minister for medical research in the months and years to come. It’s a thrill to think that the meeting that I had with Professor Peter Klinken all those years ago has borne fruit in this way. I’m honoured, Peter, to be here with you today on your last day as Director of this Institute, I’m pleased to be with Peter Leedman on his first day as Director of this research Institute. Most of all I want to acknowledge everyone who has made today possible - the professors of course, the researchers of course, but all of the unsung people who have made it possible - the builders, the tradesmen, the craftsmen, everyone connected with Doric Constructions, led by Harry Xydas. They’ve all done such a magnificent job. It’s nice to have the Hallelujah Chorus over there. Well, may they do their bit to commemorate today, because I am confident that our world, our country, our state will be so much better in the years and decades and centuries to come because of the work that will be done in this building behind us. [ends]