I hope this finds you enjoying a lovely Easter break. It has been an incredible few days for our mental health campaign, so I want to share a quick update.
It started on Wednesday. Our full page newspaper ad, featuring thousands of photos submitted by GetUp members, called on the Government to deliver more funding for mental health. The evening news ran images of our ad, and reporters directly asked Julia Gillard to respond.
Then on Thursday Professor Patrick McGorry and I met with Treasurer Wayne Swan and presented him with GetUp’s 100,000 strong petition. For the second day in a row, our campaign made national news. At the same time, Tony Abbott announced an increase in the Opposition’s commitments to mental health funding.
Now, it looks like our campaign is about to translate into real results. Channel 10 reported that mental health funding may be the centrepiece spending initiative in the upcoming Federal Budget. Click below to watch the story:
The catalyst for this campaign was an email from a GetUp member about year ago, pointing out that in an hour-long leaders debate about healthcare, neither Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott mentioned mental health once. At that time, none of the major parties had a serious mental health policy. Now we’re on the verge of a tri-partisan approach to this issue. That’s a testament to mental health advocates from around the country, and to every single person who has taken action over the last year.
Before the meeting with Wayne Swan, Pat McGorry and I went to pick up the GetUp mental health petition from the printers in Cairns. Printed out on A4, it was four feet tall. The petition we were struggling to carry represented 104,064 people: more than could fit in the MCG!
Together, we have called, faxed, email and visited politicians; we’ve run a people-powered TV and newspaper campaign; held candlelight vigils across the country; and created the biggest petition the Treasurer has ever received. That makes me so proud to be involved in GetUp. I hope you are too.
Simon, for the GetUp team.
PS – If your friends and family haven’t joined this campaign yet, it’s not too late to make an impact. There are still three weeks until the Federal Budget: still time to grow our petition and keep the pressure up.
Invite friends and family to join the campaign at: www.getup.org.au/health_reform.