NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA: Well, this week, on Tuesday, an award was announced for achievement in gynaecological cancers. To tell us a bit about the person in whose honour it’s named – that’s the late Senator Jeannie Ferris – I’m joined by current Senator Simon Birmingham. He’s a Liberal Senator for South Australia. Good afternoon, Simon.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Good afternoon, Natasha, and good afternoon to your listeners.
NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA: Look, I’m not expecting you to be an authority on gynaecological cancers but I just thought it’d be appropriate before we talk to Alison Amos, who’s the CEO [Chief Executive Officer] of Ovarian Cancer Australia, that you can remind us a bit about Senator Ferris’s legacy.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well, thanks, Natasha, and, look, this is a really welcome award and opportunity to once again recall the legacy of Jeannie Ferris, who preceded me in the Senate, who tragically passed away in office in 2007 having served as a South Australian Liberal Senator since 1996… fearless champion of rural interests, a great warrior for reforms to allow such things as stem cell research but, notably in this case, somebody who had been diagnosed in 2005 with ovarian cancer, stoically continued firstly to represent South Australia and do her job to 110 per cent in the Senate while she battled that cancer but also really brought to light and public attention ovarian cancer and gynaecological cancers more generally and her work through a comprehensive Senate inquiry led to the establishment of a $1 million centre for the study of women’s cancers [National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers] which since then has, of course, managed to achieve millions in National Health and Medical Research [Council] funding and really a part of the reforms that, along with cervical screening and otherwise, have seen good improvement in terms of the results for women with cancers and the early detection of those sorts of cancers.
NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA: Indeed. That’s a wonderful explanation of much of her work and, indeed, her efforts to raise awareness around these cancers, notably through a Senate committee but then, as you say, through the establishment of a centre. Thank you, Simon Birmingham, Liberal Senator for South Australia, and no doubt you will be spreading the word about this particular award, so thank you for joining us today.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: It’s a really welcome award. Thank you. A pleasure, Natasha.
NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA: That’s wonderful.