Mr DULUK (Waite) (12:05): I also thank the member for Hurtle Vale for moving this motion. I know she is very passionate and real about this issue and the importance of organ donation. I thank the member for Mount Gambier as well. In the time the members for Mount Gambier and Hurtle Vale and I have been here, similar years, we have constantly been raising this matter.
I do support the motion, as organ donation does save lives. Of course, the motion acknowledges DonateLife Week, which runs from Sunday 28 July until 4 August. Obviously, that was celebrated about a month or so ago. The week is about raising awareness of organ and tissue donation. It is about encouraging all Australians to register their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and discuss their donation decisions with their loved ones, their families and those who are close to them.
As the member for Hurtle Vale said, every time someone registers to become an organ donor and every time that that donation is accepted and used at some point, a life is saved or a quality of life is improved. I thank everyone who is an organ donor from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank the families of everyone who has donated an organ. It is one of the most important things you can do to transform a life. I would like to, once again, as I do every year, put on the record my thanks to that family that donated an organ to my mum, which ensured that she can have a fuller life, which is so important. In my family, we are very grateful to those who choose to make organ donation available, so thank you very much.
A lot of people, as has been discussed, do not actually know what their obligations are in terms of the process to go about donating their organs. I think it is so important that we as parliamentarians, as a government and as a community raise that awareness so people know how they can easily make a difference to someone's life by merely putting their name on the register and the simple process of doing that. The more we talk about this issue and the more we raise it, if we get just one extra person every day putting their name on the register that is a fantastic thing. Australia has one of the best transplant success rates in the world, and research shows that the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation. In many fields of transplant, whether it is kidneys, livers or harvesting of other parts, we have been doing this for many, many years, and many of the people who practise in this field are world leaders, which is a fantastic testament to our Australian medical profession.
At times, it can be a hard decision for families to accept the consent of a loved one who has said they would like to be an organ donor. By and large, that donation is made at a time when loss of one's life gives the ability for organs to be donated, and that is quite often a hard conversation to be had at the time by the families. But I do urge everyone here to go home and discuss organ donation with their families and friends to make it clear that you would like to be an organ donor. While the majority of Australians, about 71 per cent, think it is important to talk about the situation with their family, only about half of those Australians have discussed whether they actually want to be a donor.
How does one become a donor? The Australian Organ Donor Register is the official national register for people 16 years of age or older to give them the intention to be a donor. Recording your decision on the register ensures that authorised healthcare professionals anywhere in Australia can check your donation decision at any time. In the event of your death, information about your decision will be provided to your family.
There are currently about 1,400 Australians on a short list waiting for life-saving organ transplants. A further 11,000 Australians are on kidney dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant. In 2018, 554 deceased and 238 living organ donors and their families gave 1,782 Australians a new chance at life. More than 10,500 Australians have benefited from eye and tissue donation.
The majority of Australians—69 per cent—have indicated they would be willing to become an organ or tissue donor but, as I said before, only about one in three are on the register, so it is really important for us to translate the desire of the Australian community into a practical outcome. Nine in 10 families say yes to donation when their loved one is a registered donor, and that is so important. Our national consent rate currently sits at about 64 per cent but, if our consent rate and take-up rate get to hit about 70 per cent then Australia would be in the top 10 performing countries in terms of organ donation.
Another interesting statistic is that, of the 36 per cent of Australians who feel confident they know if their loved ones are willing to be a donor, 93 per cent say they would uphold their wishes. As the member for Hurtle Vale commented, having those conversations is so important so that your loved ones actually know your wishes and to make sure that wish is carried through at the important time.
People who need organ transplants are usually very sick or dying because one or more of their organs is failing. They are all of us in the community: they are our children, they are our parents, they are our families, they are our grandparents. Organ donation has progressed over the years and, of course, the success of transplants and the technologies have greatly improved to make the process a much more seamless transition.
We never know when illness could affect a family member, friend or colleague who may need a transplant, and how many of us would be enormously grateful to receive a donor organ if we required one. The gift of life is the most amazing gift anyone can give. After I am gone, I will not have use for my organs, and maybe not all of them will be any good to anyone, but that opportunity will be there. Hopefully, we can all make a difference in this important issue.