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President’s report (AGM Nov 8, 2003)
Management Committee report (Jan 2003)
President’s end of year reports (2002)
President’s report (Mar 2002)
President’s report (Jan 2002)
President’s report (Nov 2001)
Nat. Assn. President’s report (Nov 2001)
President’s report (Sep 2001)
Miscellaneous reports (Jun 2001)
Vice-president’s report (Jun 2001)
Vice-president’s report (Mar 2001)

National Association President’s Report

By Simon R. Molesworth AM, QC
Honorary National Chairman

Simon Molesworth
Simon Molesworth

November 9, 2001

Members will recall that during September 1999 a national association of all the ME/CFS societies in Australia was established as a corporate entity under the name: ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Association of Australia Limited. Judith Lovett from South Australia was elected the first chairman.

On Sunday 14th October 2001, at its Annual General Meeting, I was elected the new (and so second) National Chairman. I am currently the President of the ME/CFS Society in Victoria. Nola Miles, another Victorian, was elected the new National Secretary. All national board positions are honorary, filled by volunteers. New board members were also elected from Queensland, South Australia and the ACT. We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have now retired from the National board.

Effectively, the National Association is a “federation” of representatives of each of the State and Territory ME/CFS societies in Australia (there being one or more in each Australian jurisdiction with the exception of the Northern Territory). We estimate that the National Association represents at least 150,000 patients and carers in Australia who are experiencing the challenges of CFS on a daily basis.

The National Association has a critically important role to play in Australia to co-ordinate and stimulate nationwide efforts to achieve greater awareness of and then better support services for those with ME/CFS and related illnesses. This role will inevitably require active and persistent lobbying of governments around Australia, but especially in Canberra. I have often used the word “clout” as being the essential ingredient to the make-up of any organization if it wishes to achieve its aims. Politicians and bureaucrats must become aware that there are a very large number of Australians who have been and are affected by ME/CFS - either as sufferers or carers or just concerned friends and family. My role as the new National Chairman will be to ensure that all politicians in the health sector are aware of and supportive of our needs across the Nation. I will be demonstrating that we have clout.

As I write this article the Federal Election has not taken place but as you read it, you will know who is the new Federal health minister. Irrespective of which party has formed government, a new Health Minister was inevitable as Dr Michael Wooldridge voluntarily retired at the Election. I am determined that the National Association, on behalf of all the ME/CFS Societies in Australia, will establish a well trod path to Canberra. The National Association will be demanding a more equitable distribution of medical research dollars; insisting on a greater range of government funded community support facilities; and generally will be insisting on a more pro-active Government-led approach to overcoming the multiplicity of related problems which arise out of CFS; such as insurance issues, superannuation issues, employment issues and education issues. The fact that all these problems are national problems requiring a national response, strengthens my resolve that the new Health Minister needs to become a friend and an ally of the ME/CFS community across Australia. We are looking to the new Federal Minister to take this lead. The time has come to advance: I am pleased to have this new role at such a time of significant change. Times of change are times of opportunity!

The most important project of the National Association (and for that matter of each of the State and Territory societies) over this last year has been seeking the sponsorship of the Third International Clinical & Scientific Meeting on ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that was convened at Manly in Sydney NSW on the 1st and 2nd December. This International Conference, under the auspices of the Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation for Research into ME/CFS, brought to Australia the world’s leading specialist researchers into CFS to enable them to share their knowledge with fellow medical practitioners and researchers in Australia. This Conference, being the third in five years, represented the best opportunity for the Australian medical professional to meet and learn from the most significant group of CFS researchers ever brought to Australia.

In closing may I convey to all of you my personal greetings and whole hearted wish that your Christmas and New Year holiday season will be one where you will find renewed health, enjoyment and a sense of fulfilment. Your individual memberships of the State and Territory societies during the last year, along with the support of many others, has underpinned the work of each Society and the National Association: in short, you give us clout. In closing, may I thank each member for what you have done for us and the CFS cause generally. I trust or hope that we will continue to attract your support during 2002.

Simon R. Molesworth AM, QC
Honorary National Chairman

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