Recently I was delighted to join MSA board members, Vice President Ian Pennell, Board Directors Sharon Eacott and Ian Gordon, MSRA CEO Matthew Miles and advocates from MSA ACT/NSW/VIC at a function at Parliament House hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of MS and its co-chairs Senators Kate Lundy and Gary Humphries.
It was a great opportunity to meet some key politicians, catch up with some of our Advocates and Ambassadors – who continue to be committed to raise our profile as an organisation – and have the opportunity discuss some of our priorities for the next year or so.
As is always the case at Parliament House it was a busy time but a fascinating time, amplified by the fact that the night before we arrived Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership was challenged and Kevin Rudd reinstated in the Labour leadership and subsequently reappointed as Prime Minister !
With this in mind, I was encouraged by the support and interest we received from MPs in attendance. Importantly we were able to discuss several key national issues with them such as DisabilityCare Australia and its continued rollout and the need for greater funding for MS research but perhaps most importantly, we were able to give an insight into living with MS thanks to our ambassadors and people with MS in attendance.
At this point I would like to acknowledge and thank Sarah Ross-Smith, a legal high flyer in Canberra who has been living with MS for more than 15 years. Sarah was the keynote speaker for the function. She spoke eloquently and with brutal honesty about her MS story and her contribution was vital to the success of the day.
A significant aspect of our visit was to thank outgoing co-chair of the PFWMS, Senator Gary Humphries for his years of support to MSA. I think the genuine surprise he demonstrated when we presented him with a plaque honouring his commitment was noted by all.