Thursday, 10 December 2020
Automated External Defibrillators
Thanks, Deputy Speaker! I stand with the former Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, in his mission to save 25,000 Australian lives in Australia every year. I recently caught up with Greg, and he told me the story of how he collapsed on stage during a Wiggles performance. He was raising money with the Wiggles for the bushfire victims. He collapsed because he was having a heart attack. What saved his life was that a bystander performed CPR and also that nearby and available was an automated external defibrillator or AED at the RSL club where the Wiggles were performing.
Greg has now started a charity called Heart of the Nation, dedicated to saving the lives of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest, whether it's at home, at the workplace or out in public. A better community response for people going into cardiac arrest can help increase the chances of surviving it, and Greg is working hard to raise public awareness about how we can do just that.
It's vital that more people are confident in performing CPR and that we have more defibrillators out in the community available for people to use. We also need more people to know how to use the AEDs. Only one in 10 people survive a heart attack—one in 10. Knowing where an AED is located in a public space can certainly be the difference between life and death. Here in the Federation Chamber, there's an AED in the back. We need to develop a nationwide approach to locating AEDs, both through improved signage and a single phone app. I want to congratulate St John Ambulance in the Northern Territory for the incredible work that their paramedics do and their dedication to community education and awareness through their first aid and CPR courses, and on their excellent campaign to place up to 1,000 public-access defibrillators, AEDs, in the NT by next year.
With sudden cardiac arrest being one of the leading causes of death in Australia, having a defibrillator, an AED, in your workplace, your community club, your sporting organisation or at home, can be the difference between life and death. We need to make defibrillators more accessible and train more people in the use of them, and we will increase the survival rates.
It's important that signage for AEDs is unique and highly visible so it doesn't get lost among other emergency signs. I ask honourable members to just keep a lookout when you're going through an airport or another public space and see if you can see the AEDs. Sometimes you can't. One of the reasons for that is that they're not bright enough—they don't stand out enough.
I congratulate Greg Page on the work he's doing. This yellow colour—of my bright yellow skivvy—may be something that you just can't miss.