Oakshott diagnosed with Graves'

The condition caused his eyes to bulge and heart to race and led to an involuntary shaking in his hands that was visible to family, friends and the TV-watching public.
The condition caused his eyes to bulge and heart to race and led to an involuntary shaking in his hands that was visible to family, friends and the TV-watching public. Mark Graham

INDEPENDENT MP Rob Oakeshott has been diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease, which caused his hands to shake and eyes to bulge when he made the biggest political decision of his career to back Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

Midway into his latest parliamentary term, Mr Oakeshott has decided to speak publicly for the first time about being diagnosed with Graves' disease just after the new government was formed in 2010.

Mr Oakeshott said he suffered the most severe, then undiagnosed, symptoms during and after the election. Even during his much-criticised 17-minute speech explaining his decision to back Ms Gillard, his health was failing, contributing to a loss of sleep throughout the tumultuous period that ended in a delicately poised Parliament.

The condition caused his eyes to bulge and heart to race and led to an involuntary shaking in his hands that was visible to family, friends and the TV-watching public.

''Because of the shaking hands, family members were asking if I was getting Parkinson's disease,'' the 42-year-old Lyne MP said.


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