Date published: 
4 March 2018
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

4 March 2018



E&OE…



Topics: ‘Get the Facts’ child immunisation campaign; cervical cancer



MONIQUE WRIGHT:

Well, cervical cancer is set to be eradicated within the next 40 years and Australia is expected to be the first country to be free of the disease. Just extraordinary news. For more, we’re joined now by Health Minister Greg Hunt.



Minister, good morning to you.



GREG HUNT:

Good morning.



MONIQUE WRIGHT:

There’s a couple of important health things that we want to talk to you about, then we also want to get to Barnaby Joyce. But first up, this news about cervical cancer is just incredible and such a reminder that we need to keep putting money into scientific research in this country.



GREG HUNT:

Look, that’s correct. What we see is the researchers at the University of Melbourne and at the Royal Women’s’ Hospital amongst many, many others who are projecting forwards, and our goal is to halve the rate of cervical cancer, again, we’ve already reduced it by half over the last 25 years, but to do it by 2035, and then to eradicate it.



There’s a real prospect that Australia could become the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer off the back of our new screening programs introduced on 1 December, a much more effective testing program, and the new vaccines Gardasil 9 which were introduced this year for school children around the country.



So, incredible steps forward, plus you bring forward the new cancer immunotherapies and targeted therapies. And for women, this is unbelievably important news projecting forwards.



MICHAEL USHER:

And also, Minister, I know you want to talk this morning about anti-vaxxers. They’re set to be targeted in a new campaign, particularly the younger kids in the low immunisation rates with, I think, is it one, three and five-year-olds?



GREG HUNT:

Correct. So what we aim for is a 95 per cent vaccination rate at least. We are making huge progress around the country with 94 per cent for one-year-olds and 93.5 per cent for five-year-olds, but there are some areas that have lower vaccination rates, the Gold Coast hinterland, the Richmond Valley, parts of South Perth, and then some of the inner urban areas in Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide amongst others.



So we’re targeting in on those areas through Facebook and Google, through doctors surgeries. And if we can do that, if we can deal with any doubts that parents have, because immunisation is safe, it saves lives, it protects lives.



We can protect our children and we can protect everybody else’s children.



MICHAEL USHER:

Look, just, Minister, we’d love to talk about the more important issues that keep on going on, but can you please try and explain, as a Coalition member and a respectable politician, this morning what is Barnaby Joyce thinking by giving another interview, suggesting that he may not be the father of his unborn baby?



GREG HUNT:

Look, I’ll respectfully not make any comment on that. I don’t think it’s right or appropriate for me to do that. I don’t have any of the details and I’ll leave it for them.



MICHAEL USHER:

The details are pretty straightforward though. He said this morning it’s a grey area, which is just bizarre. Why not just say nothing at all at the moment, Minister?



GREG HUNT:

I think that’s the best thing for me to do.



MONIQUE WRIGHT:

Okay. It is frustrating, though, for you that we are asking you about this now when there are other important health issues that we could have given more time to?



GREG HUNT:

Look, I accept that the stories of the day are part of my job and my focus is to say to the parents who are watching, you can save your child’s life by having them immunised, and you can protect the lives of other children by having them immunised.



MICHAEL USHER:

Minister, what’s your advice to Barnaby Joyce this morning?



GREG HUNT:

Well, the path that I’m taking is not to make any comment on it.



MICHAEL USHER:

Should that be advice for him as well about his own personal affairs?



GREG HUNT:

I’ll just make my own counsel and take my own counsel, and others can all draw their own conclusions off that.



MONIQUE WRIGHT:

Alright. Thank you very much for being with us. You’re appropriately dressed for the beach. Greg Hunt, enjoy the triathlon that’s there this morning.



GREG HUNT:

We like to dress up for the beach at Mount Martha.



MONIQUE WRIGHT:

Thank you very much. Thanks for being with us, Minister.



(ENDS)