McMILLAN MP Russell Broadbent has spoken in favour of a motion by Labor MP Anna Burke calling for allergic disease to be made a national health priority.
Ms Burke said the effects of severe allergies and anaphylaxis were underestimated by the community.
The motion called for increasing public awareness of severe allergies to be made a priority and for the better coordination of how risks are managed.
In supporting the motion, Mr Broadbent said severe allergies were widespread.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teacher these days [when] one in 10 children may be affected,” Mr Broadbent said.
“It has been described as ‘these are large numbers,’ no Mr Speaker, these are gigantuous (sic) numbers, these are very large numbers of people.”
“I have no idea why in just [our] generation… that this phenomenon has come upon us like a creeping cancer. So I ask myself questions: what is it? Is it the food chain? Is it something different that we’re doing today that our parents didn’t do.
“Why have we got even cancer rates higher in this generation than before. I can reason that away by saying ‘oh, we didn’t know in previous generations all the things we know now. We didn’t know children were suffering… with an allergy, they just had to burst their way though it…,’ and we only came to that place where we found the children who didn’t grow out of it.”
Mr Broadbent noted the difficulties faced by Ms Burke and her son, who has anaphylaxis.
“A family living in the knowledge of that [risk has to] get on and accept that that [the allergy] is ever-present there,” Mr Broadbent said.
“She (Ms Burke) herself has been directly in that position of having the full knowledge but sending her son out into a community that hasn’t got the full knowledge, where he wasn’t protected totally, where he had to be responsible for himself at every moment of the day.
“I hope that the new research funds that the government is putting in play will have some long-term effect and be an opportunity for this to be resolved, but like all of the rest of you I have a question, and that question is how did we get to this place?”
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