Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our city and our community are draped in the colour pink, a symbol of support and hope. There are pink ribbons, pink ladies, pink lipsticks, pink hats and scarves, our pink sisterhood and our pink family.

Seven women die every day from breast cancer, and 41 people every day are diagnosed with breast cancer. Having been given that devastating news myself, and having undertaken a regime of arduous but lifesaving treatment — and even now still visiting doctors for check-ups, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst — I can tell members your life is never the same. I therefore do not need to turn up for work at the Parliament of Victoria and have to walk past a banner with pink ribbons plastered all over it not to promote a worthy and cherished cause but to spread fear that somehow abortion is linked to breast cancer.

If these people want to demonstrate about abortion, I would be the last person to stop them. I value our democracy; I champion dissent. But I am very upset that our pink ribbons, which are worn even here in this place by MPs, are being misused for another purpose. I take offence, and indeed it makes me feel sick when I see these symbols being misappropriated.

Imagine how patients on their way to nearby Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre must feel when they see these signs; I imagine they must feel, like me, ill. It is sickening.

This month I want the pink message to shine with hope and support. I ask that friends inside and outside this Parliament and the presiding officers ask these people to stop using the pink ribbon this way. These pink symbols of faith and love are ours, not theirs, to use.