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Parliamentary Friends of Multiple Sclerosis 50th Anniversary Dinner, Parliament House Canberra


This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

Good evening, everyone.

It is a privilege for Linda and me to be amongst this special group of people.

Tonight’s dinner provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all those who have helped MS Australia to become what it is today.

Our hosts, Parliamentary Friends of Multiple Sclerosis and co-Chairs, Senator Wendy Askew and Senator Deborah O’Neill — for raising awareness and increasing understanding of MS amongst your colleagues across the Parliament and in the communities you represent.

The MS Australia team — I realise we have the tip of the iceberg here tonight, but to all involved thank you for seeking to improve all aspects of the lives of people affected by MS.

For 50 years you have made an immeasurable contribution to our community and to those living with MS and their families.

In 1972, someone diagnosed with MS would be told that there was no treatment, no cure, and no way of knowing how quickly you might lose basic functions.

Today, thanks to advancements in medical research, the picture is vastly different.

The MS research effort in Australia and across the world is entering a critical and exciting phase, with many promising research projects placing us on the cusp of important breakthroughs.

These projects cover an extraordinary range of research work — from treatments to the prevention of MS.

Together, these projects give hope to people living with MS, and their families and carers.

It is a priceless gift.

I am delighted to see that many in the MS Australia family are being recognised tonight for longevity of service and outstanding achievement.

As I said, your commitment and contributions have had a profound impact on the lives of people living with MS, their loved ones and carers.

The work goes on, of course, and tomorrow you’ll be hard at it once again.

More than 7.6 million Australians know or have a loved one living with MS.

MS is the most common chronic disease of the central nervous system among young Australians and affects nearly 26,000 people in this country.

As your anniversary logo so aptly states, ‘50 years of progress’.

As Patron of MS Australia, congratulations on a truly outstanding 50 years.

It is a great delight for Linda and me to share in this special occasion with you.

Please, keep up the great work.