‘Wish she were here’: PM’s tragic tribute

Anthony Albanese has pledged $1.5m to improve outcomes for people with metastatic breast cancer, in a tribute to the late Peta Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to the late Peta Murphy in announcing a $1.5m investment to improve outcomes for people with metastatic breast cancer.

Ms Murphy, who died in December, had been a strong advocate for breast cancer research and care, especially during her four-year parliamentary career.

Just days before her death, Ms Murphy had been in Canberra to launch a new report with Breast Cancer Network Australia, calling for a national picture on metastatic cancers.

The Prime Minister heeded her call when he made the announcement at a breast cancer event in Dunkley – the electorate Ms Murphy held and which is now up for a by-election.

Peta Murphy died in December. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

The money will accelerate the collection of cancer stage and recurrence data in Australia, which he noted was critical for identifying patterns of delayed diagnosis, cancer recurrence and survival, and would drive equity in cancer outcomes.

“Right now, I’d like to make particular mention of one – our friend who is very much on our minds today. Peta Murphy was so many things to so many: a friend, an inspiration, a wonderful Parliamentarian, a great voice for her community here in Dunkley,” Mr Albanese said.

“I will always be awed by the fact that even right up to the end, Peta was thinking of others.

“I wish Peta were here right now. I know we all do. But she would have been pleased to see this happening.

“Sometimes you need a better map to find your way forward, sometimes a brighter light to read it by. I have confidence that this registry will be a bit of both.”

The investment includes funding for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to establish the Australian Cancer Data Alliance, and funding for jurisdictional population-based cancer registries to boost capabilities of data collection.

MP Peta Murphy Funeral
Anthony Albanese will make the breast cancer announcement in Ms Murphy’s electorate of Dunkley. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Vicki Durston, from Breast Cancer Network Australia, said Ms Murphy “would have been so incredibly proud that we are now closer to ensuring that many thousands of Australians with metastatic breast cancer will no longer be hidden in plain sight”.

“This funding is a significant step forward, and will help the sector lead and pioneer the collection of these important data to inform and drive policy, innovation, planning, treatment and care.

“Now we can begin consolidating a way forward for better quality data, not just for breast cancer, but for all metastatic cancers.”

Health Minister Mark Butler said being able to collect these data would mean a “better understanding of the symptoms people have, how their cancer is diagnosed, how they respond to treatment, and how their cancer progresses over time”.