Page 540 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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Duncan’s also supports the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, located right next door. It sponsors a number of sporting teams across the Canberra region, including the Belconnen United Sharks, Hockey ACT and the CBR Brave, Softball ACT, and even the Queanbeyan Yowies basketball team. It has also been a major sponsor of community events such as the Weetangera school fete.

On the first weekend in March it was my privilege to attend another community event sponsored by Duncan’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, along with my colleague James Milligan—the Page shopping centre barbecue. I rise today to thank Jason and his team for once again being good neighbours and helping to build and strengthen community by bringing people together. The food, of course, was fantastic and the vibe was relaxed and happy.

I was thrilled to see that the Canberra Prosperous Mountain Dragon and Lion Dance team had been invited to this community celebration. As part of their performance they blessed each of the six shops for the coming year. After two very difficult years for our local small businesses, what a lovely gesture that was.

I sincerely hope that 2022 will see Duncan’s prosper. I hope that this same prosperity will be enjoyed by all of the small business owners at the Page shops, across my electorate and across this territory. I give my sincere thanks to Jason Duncan and all of his employees for making so many valuable contributions to our Canberra community.

Health—autoimmune disorders

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.06): I rise today to speak about autoimmune disorders and the impact they have within our community. Autoimmune disorders occur when a person’s immune system starts attacking their own body. There are around 80 different autoimmune disorders, ranging in severity from mild to disabling, and for unknown reasons women are more likely than men to develop them. There is no known cure for most autoimmune disorders, and very often we do not even know how these disorders work, but symptoms can usually be somewhat managed, providing some relief for those with them.

Why is it important to talk about this? It is because autoimmune disorders affect around five per cent of the Australian population, and they are often chronic and have many associated impacts. In short, they have a really big impact on people, but as a community it is not something that we really think about or understand. The USA has a whole month set aside to raise awareness of these disorders and the impact that they have. That month is March, and it is in this spirit of awareness that I speak today.

I personally know about the impact of these disorders because I am one of those five per cent. I will never forget the day my GP called me and said, “You don’t have cancer, but something is really wrong and you need to go to emergency now.” That was 12 years ago. I was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia—or, as it was known then, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, which I must admit I have never

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