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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4082

Ms SAFFIN (Page) (09:56): I want to note in this place that this Sunday 26 March is International Purple Day supporting epilepsy around the world—a day to raise epilepsy awareness. We have been asked by Epilepsy Action Australia to wear purple today, Thursday, 22 March, to show our support. I note also that my colleague and friend the honourable member for Shortland through the parliamentary group demonstrates the support of the parliament, and I know there are many others as well.

In my seat of Page, a local woman, Tracy Doherty, has organised for this Sunday a barefoot bowls day at the South Lismore Bowling Club at 11 am to raise awareness for much needed funds for research. Tracy's beautiful daughter Emily has been diagnosed with non-specific epilepsy, and Tracy is thanking people for supporting such a great cause. I may not be able to attend but I have given support. My office manager, Carmel Cook, also has epilepsy and is a bowler, so she and her husband Ian, also a bowler, are going to attend on Sunday. I want to commend Tracy for her efforts in organising such an event for Sunday.

Another issue of importance in my electorate is that a significant number of local people have asked me to meet the Tibetan delegation who visited parliament this week. A formal request came through the Australian Tibet Council. Their presence was welcomed here, but unfortunately I could not meet simply due to the parliamentary responsibilities and clashes of times, but my apologies were given. I am a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet—a group headed by Mr Michael Danby MP and Mr Peter Slipper MP. I thank them for their good work in this area.

I also welcome the foreign minister's comments in the Senate that he asked the People's Republic of China for permission to send Australia's ambassador in Beijing to Tibet to investigate religious protests by self-immolation and that he was asking permission to allow a group of parliamentarians to investigate the grievance that had given rise to these extreme and distressing forms of protest.

My office also took delivery of a letter signed by 201 Yamba residents handed over by local Yamba resident nurse and artist Jill Bradshaw with a whole package of salient material that detailed human rights abuses. I know that they are having a function in Yamba at the Star of the Sea Convent on Tuesday night, 3 April, with monks performing. A lot of people have been asked to attend that.