Dignity for the dying, but only the walls had ears
ONLY the walls had ears on Thursday evening as Gympie's Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien spoke up for the voiceless and the dying.
He said we had a long way to go before government support for people in their last days even approached contemporary western world standards.
He spoke to an audience of hardly anybody, when he addressed federal parliament on the issue of state and federal funding for organisations like Gympie's Little Haven Palliative Care, a charity that survives on the direct generosity of Gympie supporters and the extreme hard work of its workers, along with state government grants which have not increased this year, despite ever-rising costs.
Little Haven helps people who need it, including helping them to spend their last days at home if they wish, from Kilkivan to the Cooloola Coast.
Mr O'Brien's speech, recorded in Thursday's House of Representatives Hansard, urged more action from both the Queensland Labor Government and, perhaps less predictably, from his own Turnbull Government.
It was the last address to the House that day and, after Mr O'Brien finished, the video record shows the Speaker rising from his chair to close proceedings, along with the parliamentary officials who participated in the brief but ceremonial closing.
Then the camera shifted to show the whole room.
There was Mr O'Brien, towards the bottom left of the screen.
And all the other seats - Government, Opposition and cross bench - were empty.
Mr O'Brien's heartfelt words were spoken to an audience of hardly anyone, although The Gympie Times was forced to illustrate the story with a file photograph, taken at a time when there were people in the House.
A video recording of his speech can be viewed at the House of Representatives Hansard site.