Labor MP Peta Murphy has urged her colleagues to take seriously warnings about the state of Australia’s healthcare system, while making clear a cancer diagnosis will not prevent her taking her place in Parliament.
In her maiden speech to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Ms Murphy said she has every intention of staying on in Parliament, and using her position to fight on the issue.
“I am neither unique, nor alone,” she said.
“But I am someone who has a platform that I can use to benefit others.
“And as long as the people of Dunkley continue to vote for me to represent them in this place, I intend to use it.”
Ms Murphy told Parliament her first breast cancer diagnosis came just days before a planned move to the United States.
She said with hindsight, she could see she was “lucky”.
“We had strong, loving families and friends,” she said.
“We had the resources that come with professional careers.
“We could access and afford the best quality care.
“I am acutely aware that this is not everyone’s story, and that it should be.”
Labor MP Peta Murphy making a speech in Parliament
PHOTO: Ms Murphy pledged to stay on in the role, and advocate for change in health care and her constituents in Dunkley. (ABC News: Luke Stephenson)
‘Listen to the experts’
Ms Murphy used her maiden speech to issue a warning to the parliamentarians around her on the state of Australia’s healthcare system.
“Fellow Members of Parliament, listen to the experts who warn the promise of universal health care is under threat,” she said.
“Commit to the reform and funding that our health system needs, and do whatever is required to ensure that Australia trains, retains and invests in the health care professionals and researchers who make our system great.”
She said she was fully aware that her own experience of cancer, while difficult, did not come with the additional challenges that face others.
“Let’s be frank though, cancer sucks,” she said.
“It changes the way your body feels and the way you feel about your body.
“The treatments can make you sick. Sometimes you are scared, sometimes you are angry. In my experience, often you are both at the same time.
“You worry about how your friends and family are coping. You value their support but resent the fact that you need it.
“And for too many people, on top of all of that, is the worry about how to pay the bills if you can’t work, who is going to look after the children while you’re getting treatment, how they are going to get to and from their appointments.
“And so it goes on.” ..abcnws