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Monday, 22 August 2011
Page: 8869

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (22:15): Tonight I want to speak about the sad passing of baby Dominic, who passed away on the 13th of this month. Dominic was the youngest child of Alannah McKenna. Tonight I want to pay tribute to the strength and courage she has shown in this very difficult circumstance of losing her child. The loss of a child is a grief that no mother should have to bear, more so a young mother. That is why I want to acknowledge Alannah McKenna and pay tribute to the life of baby Dominic, who was born with a very rare genetic disorder known as infantile GM1 gangliosidosis. Essentially, where most people can break down ganglioside in the body, Dominic's rare condition caused his body to store the fatty substance in his nerve cells as well as his spleen, liver and brain. Children born with this rare condition usually do not survive beyond their third birthday. In this case, Alannah and her family had just one birthday with baby Dominic in what was no doubt an extraordinary effort of having to go through the emotional and physical challenges of tending and nurturing a child through palliative care. Despite everything, baby Dominic, through his fighting spirit and resilient personality, brought enough smiles and happiness to outshine his terminal condition and to last his grieving family a lifetime.

Alannah's extraordinary commitment to Dominic throughout his short and precious life, as well as her care for her other two children, her son and daughter, is a testament to motherhood and to the young women in my electorate. I also want to pay a special tribute to Alannah's family, who supported her through thick and thin and who remained steadfast in their commitment to raising awareness of Dominic's condition. In paying tribute to them I would like to place on the parliamentary record the issues they want raised and believe warrant our attention.

When dealing with the treatment of rare genetic disorders we need to take a closer look at strengthening procedures that would ensure that laws which govern medical practice, as they apply to the application of medical know-how, are given more room for manoeuvre when it comes to a question between a fait accompli approach to palliative care and last resort measures to apply what could potentially be life-saving treatment. The issues that were raised with me and which I put forward to the House are that even in the event that qualified care, funding and medical knowledge are available, their application can often be prevented by law because of issues to do with the phasing stages between what is deemed an experimental trial and the clinical phase of treatment. Such legal restrictions place additional emotional hardships on those families and friends who have to care for critically ill loved ones, as was the case with baby Dominic and his family. Once again, I commend Alannah and her family's resolve and, on behalf of the community, offer our condolences for the loss of Dominic.

On another matter, I wish to table a petition which has been presented and is deemed to be within standing orders by the Petitions Committee. The petition is signed by 2,758 Australian citizens and seeks to draw to the attention of the House the increasing international recognition of Palestine as a state, including the resolution to be put to the United Nations Security Council in its forthcoming meeting in September recommending Palestine's admission to the General Assembly as a state.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of concerned citizens of Australia

Draws to the attention of the House the increasing international recognition of Palestine as a State, including the resolution to be lout to the United Nations Security Council to recommend Palestine's admission to the General Assembly as a state, currently set to take place in September 2011.

We therefore ask the House to recognise a Palestinian State in accordance with all relevant UN resolutions, and international and humanitarian law which Australia has consistently upheld.

Current Australian policy supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which a viable, independent and sovereign Palestinian state would exist side-by-side with Israel, each within internationally recognised and secure borders.

Failure to capitalise on this historic opportunity may jeopardise existing international frameworks for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

from 2,758 citizens

Petition received.

Ms VAMVAKINOU: The petition calls on the House to recognise a Palestinian state in accordance with all relevant UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law which Australia has consistently upheld. Beyond the importance of applying international law to this very important issue, there are practical necessities for establishing a Palestinian state. The issue of Palestinian statehood is of major concern to many Australians; indeed, there is support for the recognition of a Palestinian state in the broader international and Australian community. This is especially so with a large section of my constituency in Calwell. The petition I tabled this evening carries the hopes of many Australians who are very keen to see our country and, indeed, our government play a role in this ongoing issue.

This House has on many occasions affirmed its support for a two-state solution to the issue of Palestine and Israel, a two-state solution that will guarantee security and peace for both states. This evening in presenting this petition I also want to place on record my support for Australia to join the vast majority of nations in recognising Palestine as it seeks statehood in the UN General Assembly in September this year.