The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

19 January 2009

NO.001

Address to the Premiere of the Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign
by the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Adelaide

19 January 2009

Governor, Premier Rann, invited guests, and also a number of my parliamentary colleagues who are here today – Sports Minister Kate Ellis, she's a large part of that solution that the Professor was talking about before. And of course Steve Georganas is here as well. And of course to Lance. And one of the great things about today is that I can move away from being Treasurer, and I can go back to being a cancer survivor. Can I salute you for what you have done and what you are continuing to do in this very important fight against cancer. It is so important that people with a very high profile put up their hand and get involved in working to rid this nation and this globe of the disease of cancer.

The great thing about this, the optimistic thing about this, is this is a battle that we can win. The means are there. We have to find the will. It's interesting just to think a little bit about what has occurred, and listening to some of the presentations from a number of the speakers before about how far we have come, and about how far we can go in this important fight. I think it is the case that today more people are detected early with cancer than ever before, and it is certainly the case that more people are surviving than ever before. But it is also the case that as we look at the data and the demography around the world, that more people are likely to be diagnosed with cancer and the task grows.

But we do know that with advances in medical technology, that we do have the capacity to make a difference. And that's why it is so pleasurable to be here today, because what today is about is making a difference. It's actually about saving lives – if we can co-ordinate our action, if we can get the resources behind that action, and if we can tap the minds of the best and the brightest in the medical research community to achieve advances.

Now, think of it this way. If you just think about Lance's story, and indeed you think about my story, we do share what is basically a common male journey of experiencing cancer and surviving cancer. In my case, if I had not been detected early, then I wouldn't be here talking today. And I was detected early through a PSA test – an advance in recent years, a screening advance, which is now saving many lives. If it was more widely available, it would be saving many more lives.

In Lance's case, if he had been diagnosed 20 or 30 years ago, that simply would have been a death sentence. But improvements in medical technology, in diagnosis and treatment, have come so far that we have a modern miracle here with Lance. To think that someone like Lance, having survived cancer, could achieve in his life what he has achieved since that time, says to all of us there is so much power in what we can all do individually to fight this disease.

And it is the case that many people who experience cancer and come through it in a healthy way, find a renewed zeal for life and a commitment to doing more for their community. And that is what is so fantastic about the Foundation and about LiveSTRONG. Because Lance, through the use of his own example, is getting people to come together as a community to do more, raising additional resources.

Because it is the case that governments can't do it all on their own. I'm pleased to hear Mike that the fiscal stimulus you've organised is working in South Australia. (Inaudible) But governments can't do it on their own, and there is such an important role for foundations such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And much more will be done around the globe and domestically in this country, not just by governments, but by not-for-profit organisations. And I salute not just all of those involved in the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but all of those involved with many other not-for-profit organisations around the country, who do take the time to raise awareness, take the time to raise money to fund medical research, because that is a very, very important part of what must be done.

But just to quote Lance for one moment, there's something he said a little while ago that stuck with me. And he said this, and I think it really sums up the man, but more importantly, the Foundation. He said, "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it lasts forever." Now that's a sentiment that I believe is very befitting of the wider fight that each and every one of us is engaged in doing something about cancer.

So can I thank Premier Rann. Can I thank the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and in particular Lance Armstrong, for everything they are doing around the globe in this very important battle. And of course, as someone who has read all the material, I was very taken by the motto of the Foundation: 'I am Wayne. I LiveSTRONG.' Thank you.