Hansard of the Legislative Council
14 April 2011

Matter of Urgent Public Importance

Mr FINCH - It has been interesting to reminisce a little while I have been hearing the motion and the contributions from honourable members, and seeing the esteemed members of our Tasmanian community here today, and taking time out to reinforce what the honourable member for Nelson has taken on here, this challenge of moving the motion and getting that message through to the Federal Government. I think it is significant that members of the fraternity of the Menzies Research Institute have given their time to come and join us here in Parliament today. We do appreciate that; it signals to us how much you are concerned about the future of the Menzies Research Institute.
It is interesting to reminisce a little bit as I look at Professor Simon Foote here. I have been remembering back a few years ago. Bev Twibell on the north-west coast did a lot of fundraising for the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome research. She worked very diligently to raise the money to contribute to that issue that was quite severe in our Tasmanian community. I know the work that was done at the Menzies Research Institute was significant in helping us to combat that issue, get the research done and to have that evidence to present that made such a difference for young parents, particularly, who had that fear pervading the lives of their families. So it was interesting to see you here again, and I know that you attended those gatherings that we had. It was a great fillip to us and a great support to enable us to keep working for the fundraising for SIDS.
Also I reflect back on the work of Professor Terry Dwyer. I know, with the member for Nelson being from the sporting fraternity, how important his contribution was to the research centre. He helped build a solid foundation of understanding in our community of what the organisation was about. Unfortunately, he moved on in his career but his foundation work remains and we have seen the Menzies Research Institute grow, prosper and develop to the situation that we are in now where we have that fabulous facility there to provide the environment in which to continue the work.
This is an unfortunate development when the Federal Government looks to cut their budget. As has been mentioned here earlier, governments need to do that from time to time because financial circumstances dictate that. However, it is a bit like when I was working many years ago in advertising; it seemed to be that the easiest budget to cut was the advertising and marketing budget. I know somebody who is involved in the industry is busy nodding away over the back of the crowd there and you would well understand that circumstance and how frustrating that can be. I think that you people would be in the same situation where budget cuts need to be made and where is it easiest to trim the budget; oh yes, we will take it from research. I think it has been highlighted here by my fellow colleagues that it is a foolish way to go about your budget cutting, particularly with what we are hearing about the future of Australia and particularly Tasmania with our ageing population. That research does need to continue to enable people to develop their lives better, particularly from their homes and to keep that Health budget under control.
In our community we have the Clifford Craig Research Foundation in the north of the State, which I think is a similar organisation but not to the same level that you have down here with the Menzies Research Institute.
Ms Forrest - And ours.
Mr FINCH - And yours as well. We understand how important it is in our community to have that sense that we are involved in the research programs, particularly in respect of health. So, yes, I support the motion and thank you for bringing it on and developing this situation where we can be part of that message through to the Federal Government.
I support the motion.