Australian Government asked: What are you doing for people with ME?

Author: Sasha Nimmo. This article first appeared on,

West Australian Senator and deputy leader of the Greens party, Scott Ludlam, asked the Australian Government what they are doing for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis. The answer is ‘not much’. Senator Ludlam raised questions relating to diagnosis, cure, management plans and treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis, which is he said may be more commonly known as ME or chronic fatigue syndrome. The questions were asked at the triannual Budget Estimates hearings at Parliament House, Canberra. The hearings provide an opportunity for non-government senators to ask questions of public servants about the running of government and government spending. The Senate is the upper house of Australia’s Parliament. A transcript of the Budget Estimates session can be viewed via this link.

In Senator Ludlam’s post “14 things we learned at Senate Estimates”, ME was highlighted at number five:

Between 0.4 and 2.6 per cent of the population suffer Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) but so little is known. Anywhere from 92,000 to 598,000 Australians suffer from this extraordinarily complex and debilitating condition. There is no collective diagnosis, there is no known cure and there is no consistent management plan. The NHMRC has provided a little over $2 million in funding between 2000 and 2013, which matches the slow pace of research worldwide. It is time to step up our efforts to fund basic research and advocacy and provide real hope for people with this ‘invisible disease’.

“I am struggling to think of a cohort of people in our community that large for whom there is so little”.

Emerge Australia President, Sally Missing is in regular contact with Senator Ludlam, meeting with him in person again this week. We thank him for his interest and support of the work of Emerge Australia and his commitment to raising awareness and advocating for improved resourcing for ME/CFS research, advocacy and service delivery.


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