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Response from the ALP’s Kate Ellis MP
Monday 29 October 2007
Suzanne emailed MPs about funding for ME/CFS research, and responses were received from three MPs advising the matter would be taken up with the Health Minister prior to the Election being called.
Here is Kate Ellis MP’s response:
Dear Ms McCusker
Thank you for contacting me with your query about funding for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research.
Federal Labor welcomes the annual rounds of national health and medical research grants.
Research funding not only delivers enormous personal benefits to individuals, it delivers significant gains in productivity. Labor recognises that health and medical research are crucial investments in Australia's future.
The National Health and Medical Research Council is Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and governments; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research. This Council makes independent recommendations for funding grants to health and medical research projects every year, based on supporting research which will promote the health of Australians.
Labor will continue to support the work of the NHMRC.
To keep abreast of Labor policies and views you might like to visit the ALP website: www.alp.org.au where you can find the Party Platform, media releases, speeches from Labor Party MPs as well as other information of interest.
Thank you for expressing your views and priorities and for participating in the political debate.
Kate Ellis MP
As far as both Societies are concerned (Victorian and South Australian), this is no answer at all really. The ALP is merely saying that there is a grants scheme available for research. But the NHMRC system has been unsupportive of research into ME/CFS – unless psychologically orientated. The ALP is not committing itself to anything proactive in Ms Ellis’s letter.
Update: Thursday 1 November 2007
We’ve received a comment to the above article. It’s from Dr Timothy Hill (PhD):
To whom this may concern
I would like to add a comment to the letter received from Kate Ellis MP. I wrote to Kevin Rudd (as well as other senior members of his team) and requested directly (amongst other similar things to the form letter provided by the ME/CFS societies) that “Funding administered by the ARC & NHMRC for research into ME/CFS to be directed at a biomedical approach and that any successful proposals be contingent on the use of the Canadian Clinical Criteria” and got the same form response as Ms McCusker.
I was not impressed. It is fine to have an independent body such as the NHMRC but the government needs to ensure that it has good policy and that it represents the views of the people. For example, if Labor claims to value the independence of the Reserve Bank, by extension they should have a good policy that doesn’t drive interest rates up. Similarly, the policy statement with regard to the NHMRC is poor and addresses none of the issues I have raised in this paragraph.