2021 Statement from QPP Patron – The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
I congratulate QPP on the achievements over the past difficult year. With you, I look forward with confidence and good hope to the year ahead.
QPP are experts in coping with pandemics. The advent of HIV/ AIDS in the mid-1980s taught us a number of lessons. They included the importance of working together; of transparency in all that we do; and in constantly striving to keep the human dimension alive and vibrant for those who are most affected, their loved ones and families.
In this sense, HIV was a continuing teacher in Australia for the strategies that work in dealing with pandemics. Fortunately, the lessons that were learned in the 1980s and 1990s in respect of responding to HIV have stood us in good stead in our response to the new COVID-19 pandemic in 2020- 2021. Politicians have made themselves available to ensure accountability and answerability for the policies they adopt. Medical experts are on the television virtually every night explaining where we have come from, where we are, and where the pandemic of coronavirus is taking us. Unmentionable fears are tamed by scientific candour and thorough explanations of strategic decisions that have to be made all the time. In this way, the modern generation of all citizens facing up to the challenges of COVID has been able to draw upon the lessons we learned 30 and 40 years earlier.
Respect for the dignity of all people and especially for their fears and anxieties in coping with a strange new virus. Sharing support with the specially vulnerable. In HIV, this meant gay men; sex workers; trans people; people who inject drugs; prisoners and detainees. Many of the same vulnerable groups have had to face special challenges in coping with the new dangers of COVID. So it has been possible for us to share our experiences and to urge solidarity within the specially vulnerable communities and reach out to others, and to the general community, which is at risk of COVID.
I am delighted to read the information that is shared in this year’s Annual Report. It is heartwarming to see the high levels of client satisfaction; the specific attention that has been given to mixed problems of HIV and COVID, the particular attention that has been given to staff and client safety and wellness, and the beneficial outreach that has happened through the Reconciliation Action Plan. During the year past, QPP has reached out and helped over 600 people living with HIV and AIDS. The organisation has written new chapters in its story, and more are in store in 2022. The 5-year service agreement with the Queensland Department of Health continues to operate as designed. This is an organisation that combines good science, human kindness, social solidarity, and peer support.
Congratulations to QPP. You have risen to the challenge of COVID-19. You have shared the lessons that we all learned from HIV. Sadly, the human immunodeficiency virus and the coronavirus will not be the last pandemics that confront the human family. We must prepare, and ready ourselves, for the challenges that lie ahead, hopefully a long time from now. Combining excellent science with individual and community compassion is the main lesson we have learned. I extend sincere words of thanks and praise to QPP for their outstanding work in the year past. This is a story of heroes. And the heroic work goes on.