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A Christmas Message from Deidre Mackechnie, Chief Executive Officer, MS Australia

A Christmas Message from Deidre Mackechnie, Chief Executive Officer, MS Australia
19 December 2018

As we enter the festive season, I offer my warmest wishes to all Australians living with MS and to the supportive families and friends on the journey with you.

I also report on what has been in 2018 and what must be in 2019.

In 2018 we achieved a lot and yet not enough.  It is our operating principle that until we beat MS we would never have achieved enough.

That said this year we have:

  • Increased the profile of MS in both the media and the political arena, including the recent launch of our Election Commitments and the Roadmaps to defeat MS and improve the lives of people living with MS
  • Achieved advocacy successes across the portfolios of Aged, Disability and Health, particularly in addressing the breakdown between the silos of Disability and Health
  • Provided contemporary information to assist people living with MS to better manage their condition; and
  • Supported the listing of new treatments on the PBS, and the changes around the laws relating to medicinal cannabis

As we look at what needs to happen in 2019, I share the message I expressed on your behalf to the Prime Minister of Australia and all sides of politics in Parliament House just last month. I explained what people with MS need, whether it be:

  • the young women who are disproportionately targeted by this disease.
  • The Tasmanians who are also disproportionately targeted by MS.
  • the ten people diagnosed every week.
  • the young people forced to enter residential aged care.
  • those who are still discriminated against in the workplace.
  • those with power bills through the roof as they try to regulate their fluctuating body temperatures.
  • young Australians who are in the global cohort of 2.3 million young adults with the most commonly acquired neurological disease.
  • Or the 7 million Australians who like the Prime Minister have a family member or friend with MS

I expressed that what we need is bipartisan support. That the time is right now and the place is right here for beating MS.

And whilst that’s our ultimate goal we also need policies to better manage and care for people through improvements to the health care, disability care and aged care sectors.

I explained that specifically we are seeking commitments to:

  • Prevent and ultimately defeat MS in Australia through investment in research;
  • To improve support for people with MS living with disability;
  • And to better support people who are ageing with MS

And whilst the MS community has been a patient one, we no longer are and we respectfully urge our political leaders to take further action now.

Because 2019 is an election year, MSA will be knocking on the doors of politicians around the country on your behalf.

If you want your own story, experiences and needs shared with Australia’s political leaders, I ask you to reach out to MSA by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter and share what you can. I want to tell your story as part of our drive to get the changes people with MS need.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and I look forward to continuing to work on your behalf in 2019.