Matter of Public Importance

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Ms Gai Brodtmann, MP, the Member for Canberra and former member of Gift of Life, introduced a matter of public importance in the Federal Parliament on Monday, 15 November 2010.  

Ms Brodtmann's address, together with the speeches of nine other members of parliament, is available as an extract from Hansard.  We congratulate Ms Brodtmann on this important initiative.

Gift of Life also issued a press release about the improved organ donor rates and the matter of public importance.


That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) organ donor rates are showing slow and sustained improvement in 2010;
(b) more than 98 per cent of Australians agree that organ and tissue donation have the potential to save and improve
lives, yet less than 60 per cent of Australians accept the invitation for their loved ones to become organ donors when
asked;
(c) there are more than 1700 Australians on the transplant waiting list at any time;
(d) many more Australians cannot get into waiting lists as they are too sick or unlikely to receive a life saving transplant
because there are not enough donors; and
(e) the Government has invested more than $150 million over four years to establish a coordinated approach to organ
donation, enabling all jurisdictions to work cooperatively to support sustained improvements in organ donation in
Australia; and
(2) acknowledges:
(a) the selfless act of the 228 donor families who have already donated organs in 2010 (to 30 September), which has
saved or improved the lives of at least 683 Australians;
(b) the work undertaken across jurisdictions led by the National Medical Director of the Australian Organ and Tissue
Authority, State and Territory Medical Directors and clinical groups to develop nationally consistent protocols and
clinical triggers;
(c) the support of community groups such as Gift of Life, Kidney Health Australia, Transplant Australia, the Organ Donation
and Transplant Foundation of Western Australia and the David Hookes Foundation, which are integral in supporting
the work of clinicians in improving organ donor rates; and
(d) the importance of a steady and sustained improvement in organ donor rates to support Australia’s quest to become a
world leader in organ and tissue donation and transplantation.


Reform Program is on way to World's Best Practice

Monday, November 08, 2010
The data released by the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry to 31 October 2010 demonstrates that the work being undertaken locally and nationally by clinicians and communities is beginning to show the improvements that have been needed in this sector.

A report is attached which shows national data, data from the Australian Capital Territory and data from New South Wales.  As can be seen from these reports, the ACT already has 9 multi organ donors.  With two months of the calendar year to run, it is expected that the 2005 record of a total of 9 will be eclipsed.

New South Wales is also demonstrating significant improvements with 74 multi organ donors to 31 October 2010.  If there are to be improvements across Australia, we need our largest jurisdiction to lead.  Overall, it is hoped that there will be over 300 multi organ donors in Australia by 31 December.

It's OK!

Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Prime Minister today launched a new campaign to encourage Australians to have the conversation about organ and tissue donation.  The campaign commences on Sunday, 23 May and its focus is:

to donate life, discuss it today, OK?

Gift of Life is a keen supporter of the campaign which has been developed by the Australian Organ & Tissue Donation & Transplant Authority

We know that Australians generally support organ and tissue donation, yet at the time of death, family consent rates are extremely low.  Your loved one will always be asked for consent so it is important to have the conversation.

When you see the advertisements in the next month, please ORGANise time with your family to discuss this most important matter.

Have a look at our website for more details and information on organ and tissue donation.

Federal Budget Papers on the Australian Organ & Tissue Donation & Transplant Authority

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Federal budget was delivered on Tuesday, 11 May, 2010, by the Treasurer, the Hon. Wayne Swan, MP.  Here are the budget papers for the Australian Organ & Tissue Donation & Transplantation Authority.  An analysis of these papers will be provided shortly.

Budget Papers.

Great Community Education

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Well done to the Kidney Health people who were stars in a segment on ABC's Stateline on Friday, 23 April.  This was a marvellous piece of community education and very compelling in outlining the impact of kidney disease.  The stars were:

  • Bill & Jenny Handke
  • David Parker
  • Anne Maguire of The Canberra Hospital

Anne pulled no punches in explaining the impact of kidney disease.

You can watch the show here.

Congratulations to Catherine Garrett and the ABC for pursuing this story.

More good news

Thursday, April 08, 2010
Australia has demonstrated an unprecedented improvement in organ donation numbers in the first quarter of 2010.  Data for the first two months of the year are available at our blog here.

Data for the entire quarter has been tabulated and is available in a report here.  It compares monthly donors for January, February and March for the last ten years for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Australia.

Further information about organ and tissue donations is available at the Australian & New Zealand Organ Donation Registry.

We pay tribute to the donor families who have discussed organ donation and made the decision for their loved ones to become organ donors.  We also thank the clinical staff involved who provide outstanding care and support for these families.

Changes at the Australian Organ & Tissue Donation Authority

Saturday, March 20, 2010
We have been advised of the resignation of Ms Karen Murphy as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Organ & Tissue Donation Authority.  Ms Murphy has resigned for personal reasons and is returning to Queensland.  We thank her for her support and work in starting up the Authority.

The Parliamentary Secreteary for Health, The Hon. Mark Butler MP, has appointed an interim CEO, pending a recruitment process.  Ms Elizabeth Cain has been appointed to the position.  She has held a number of senior positions in the health portfolio, most recently as State Manager of the Department of Health & Ageing's Queensland Branch.  We welcome Liz to the position and look forward to working with her to ensure that the Government's reform agenda continues apace.

Mr Butler's press release is available here.

Improvements in Donor Rates

Friday, March 12, 2010
January and February 2010 have been unprecedented in the number of organ and tissue donors in Australia. 

The ACT had three multi organ donors in January and one multi organ donor in February, while for the same period NSW had seven and six multi organ donors respectively.  In 2009, the ACT had one multi organ donor each for January and February and NSW had four multi organ donors and two multi organ donors.

Australia had 29 multi organ donors in January and 21 in February.  In 2009, there were 14 multi organ donors in January and 15 in February.

Further details are available from the Australia & New Zealand Organ Donor Registry.

Gift of Life records its appreciation to the 50 multi organ donor families and the many tissue donor families who have saved or improved the lives of countless Australians.  It is also grateful to the clinical staff of DonateLife across Australia, especially DonateLife ACT led by Dr Imogen Mitchell and DonateLife NSW led by Dr Jonathan Gillis.

CA Brumbies sign on to save lives

Monday, March 08, 2010
The CA Brumbies and Medicare Australia are partners in raising organ and tissue donor awareness.  Medicare administers the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Star players Patrick Phibbs and Mark Chisholm generously gave of their time to lead by example and sign onto the register.  Both players are clear that this is a personal matter that involves discovering the facts about organ donation, deciding what is to be done and then discussing it with family.  At the same time, the call to action is to sign on to the register.

Gift of Life President, Anne Cahill Lambert, had the opportunity to speak at a very wet first home game at Canberra Stadium on Friday, 5 March 2010, encouraging the crowd to discuss their wishes about organ donation with their loved ones and sign onto the register.  Despite the difficult conditions, the Brumbies came away winners, defeating the Lions 24-13.  She recorded her appreciation to players who participated in the Terry Connolly ORGANised walk as well as Patrick and Mark.

Click here to sign onto the register.  For more information about discovering the facts about organ donation, deciding what to do and discussing wishes with loved ones, go to the DonateLife website.

Terry Connolly ORGANised Walk

Thursday, March 04, 2010
The Terry Connolly ORGANised walk held on 24 February 2010 was a fabulous success with approximately 2,000 walkers participating on a glorious morning walk around the Lake.

The Connolly family was well represented with Dr Helen Watchirs (Terry's wife) and Lara and Maddy.  The federal political contingent was led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Parliamentary Secretary Mark Butler.  The ACT's deputy chief minister, Katy Gallagher, undertook the formal duties together with the Connolly family and some of the ACT Brumbies.

Greg Bayliss from ABC666 local radio was the compere for the event and interviewed captains from a number of the larger schools.

Senator Gary Humphries was the first person back to base possibly because he knew that the Lions Club had a magnificent breakfast on offer. 

Staff from Medicare were again on hand to issue showbags to all participants.

The big teams included:

  • St Clare's College
  • Melba/Copeland College
  • Marist College
  • Canberra Girl's Grammar
  • McKillop College
  • National Health & Medical Research Council
  • Australian Electoral Commission

Well done to Canberra and the region.  It was a wonderful way to demonstrate commitment to Discovering the facts about organ donation, Deciding what you want to do and Discussing it with your family.

>> Click here to see photos from the day.




Register for Organ Donation

Are you registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register?  Unless you’ve got one of these blue cards, you’re not registered.  Click here to register on line or call 1800 777 203.

Tax Deductible Gifts

Gift of Life Incorporated – a not for profit non-governmental organisation – based in the ACT engages in a range of activities each year in support of organ and tissue donation.

Gift of Life enjoys tax deductible gift status with the Australian Taxation Office for contributions received in excess of $2.00.

Those in the community wishing to contribute funds to support Gift of Life’s activities may do so either by sending a cheque addressed to Gift of Life Incorporated, PO Box 9511, Deakin, ACT 2600 or by direct transfer to Gift of Life Incorporated’s bank account with the NAB BSB 082-980 Account Number 495688467.

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Terry Connolly

Justice Terry Connolly died suddenly in the early morning of 25 September 2007 on Red Hill, having cycled to the top as part of his exercise routine.  He was a Supreme Court Judge since 2003, and Master since 1996.  Terry was the Member for Molonglo in 1990-1995 and served as the ACT Attorney-General and Minister in various portfolios, including Health.  He and his family have lived in Canberra for many years and he was a popular Canberran.

More importantly, Terry was a husband, father, son and, following his death, a tissue donor.

Terry’s wife, Dr Helen Watchirs, says that she and Terry had discussed their wishes in relation to organ donation.  This meant that at the dreadful time of death, she was clear on his wishes.  Terry’s donation to the improvement of other lives has given Helen and his daughters a sense of contribution, and has helped make up for a life cut short.

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