Page 1373 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2009

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respiratory disorder, COPD as it is known, from his smoking. He became a strong advocate of giving up smoking; anyone he could speak to to talk about the bad effects of smoking he would do so.

In fact, I understand he gave up smoking many years before his illness and he ended up in hospital in Canada with pneumonia, when he spent 70 days in a medically-induced coma, on a ventilator. He really surprised the doctors when he came out of that; he was not expected to live. He took the decision that he wanted to return to Australia and spend his remaining years in his own country.

He was on oxygen 24/7 and whilst he was on oxygen 24/7 he lobbied 24/7 around access to oxygen. He was a very strong advocate. In some ways I thought he was following me around last year. In their bright green t-shirts, he and his colleagues would come to community cabinet and they would come to community meetings where I was. I went and spoke at their Lung Life Support Group, to listen to them talking about the need to provide free oxygen to people based on clinicians’ recommendations to allow them to enter pulmonary rehabilitation programs and actually live their life. Bill spent a lot of time at the Canberra Hospital but all the time he was in there he was teaching and telling people about the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation and living a full life and of his need of oxygen to do that.

It was obvious from the speakers today at his funeral that he was a much loved man. He was a very strong lobbyist but he was very polite and very committed to making sure that we delivered the best oxygen scheme that we could. In fact, it was the week just before he died that we made the reforms to our oxygen scheme here which basically gave Bill what he was wanting. So a wonderful Australian, very much a wonderful man in terms of the community health sector here and a very strong advocate for patient-led care and healthcare consumers being involved in the care they receive.

He will be very sadly missed. His wife did a wonderful job at the funeral today. I know how much she will miss him and my thoughts are with her.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.46 pm.

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