House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Statements by Members


1:57 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

It is just over 30 years since the HIV-AIDS epidemic began in Australia. Between 1984 and mid-1985 there was a 540 per cent increase in cases. My electorate, of course, was one of the worst hit. But the response that was led at that time by our then health minister Neal Blewett made all the difference. There was bipartisan support across the parliament and the work over the next decades of countless activists, researchers, health professionals, non-government organisations and public servants has meant that Australia now has one of the lowest HIV rates in the world. Our parliament thanks all of those who have been involved in this great effort over many decades.

Australia was successful because we put affected communities at the centre of our response to HIV and AIDS. Over the past 30 years we have continued to make great advances not just in treatments but in diagnosis, including the rapid HIV testing that was approved when I was health minister and PrEP, preexposure prophylaxis—the next big step forward in helping drive us to zero new infections. There is still very much to do but, on this World AIDS Day, we want to remember that an AIDS-free generation is possible. It is as possible as the elimination of smallpox and as possible as ending polio.


Pastor Chris Ellingburg
Posted on 12 Dec 2015 12:32 am

I sincerely thank the senate for comments on HIV/AIDS. I ask the senate now in the most respectful and sincerest way to please put pressure on the minister for social services The Hon Christian Porter to revise the way centrelink assesses claims for the DSP for people living with HIV/AIDS and associated health issues that are direct complications of the illness. I have a friend who was deliberately infected with HIV and diagnosed in July 2014 who applied for the DSP, the claim and several appeals were denied, he applied to the AAT and due to the wording of the assessment process was again turned down, my friend was healthy prior to the diagnoses, now he has HIV, PTSD, Depression with suicidal tendencies, Agoraphobia, Aggressive Mood swings, digestive problems, ICE addiction. Yet with all that he doesn't qualify? I will leave it in your more than capable hands now hoping for a better outcome for him soon, in the past 16 months he has been issued medical certificates stating he can't work even 8 hours a week, yet this is not part of the assessment? He can't survive in a healthy environment on Newstart and only $604 per fortnight, so he is limited to what he does and how he can get the help he needs to live reasonably and to an old age, if something is not done he will either suicide or die of a HIV related illness. Please feel free to contact me for more details.