House debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Constituency Statements

Motor Neurone Disease

11:23 am

Photo of Luke GoslingLuke Gosling (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I acknowledge the member for Forde's fine testimony and pass on my condolences to the Hazlett family.

This Sunday is the motor neurone disease Blue Cornflower Day, and I'm wearing a blue cornflower today. I pay tribute to the 2,100 people living with motor neurone disease in Australia today, and the 14 more that are diagnosed each week. I want to thank the member for Mitchell for raising awareness around MND. Legendary Essendon football player and former Melbourne Football Club coach Neale Daniher wrote about his MND diagnosis, 'No matter what the disease would take away from me, it would never take from me the freedom to control my attitude.' What an inspiring man he is.

It's an attitude I also saw in Mike Bowden, who passed away in Darwin on 11 April. Mike was not only a great Territorian and a great Australian, he was a wonderful human being. A tribute in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote about Mike:

… he chose to sit with the Arrernte people in the Bush Church … He manned the scoreboard at Traeger Park at Alice Springs when he could have coached at the MCG.

Mike was an inspirational figure and educator in the Top End. He taught at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College in Alice Springs. He served as principal of the Ngukurr and Minyerri schools. And he's fondly remembered for his contribution as a teacher at O'Loughlin Catholic College in Darwin. In 2008 he started the tradition of the Big Bike Ride in which students, teachers and parents ride to raise funds for charities. The causes have included breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and MND, which Mike rode in a year after his MND diagnosis. I pay my respects to Mike and I honour his example to all of us.

I'd like to bring to the attention of the House that young Territorian Morgana Garland is running a marathon for MND this Sunday in Alice Springs, in honour of her mum, Margarita, who departed last month after a two-year fight with MND. You can follow her on Facebook at @MogRunsForMND and you can support her on the Australia Moves for MND site. Just search for Morgana on that website and you'll find her. Whether we're running, donating or praying, I invite all Australians to keep people with MND in their hearts on Sunday.