Home Media Resources Abbott Appointment a Potential Disaster September 29 2003
Abbott Appointment a Potential Disaster September 29 2003
The Health Services Union said today Tony Abbott must leave his ideological agenda and confrontational style behind when he takes over the health portfolio and play a constructive role in cleaning up the mess left by Kay Patterson.
Mr Abbott takes over health in a ministerial reshuffle announced today that will see Senator Kay Patterson demoted to Family and Community Services.
Aged Care Minister Kevin Andrews will take over Workplace Relations and little-known Western Australian MP Julie Bishop will become aged care minister.
HSU's national secretary Craig Thomson said: "It is good that the prime minister has finally removed Kay Patterson who the union called to be sacked in August because of her obvious incompetence. The Medicare package the government proposed should be thrown out with her.
"But it is a cause for much concern that Mr Howard has elevated Tony Abbott to the health portfolio. A reputation as a bully-boy and being biased against staff in favour of employers is hardly appealing to health professionals who are doing their best to deal with a system suffering from rapidly increasing demand and under-funding.
"It is difficult to think of anybody with less impressive credentials to take on such an important position.
"If he has just been bought in to finish off Medicare because Kay Patterson couldn't it will be a total disaster
"Mr Abbott must drastically change his approach and start to understand he has to work with unions and employers to get results not take one side. The reform issues that Senator Patterson missed such as cost-shifting, inadequate aged care, overloaded emergency departments must be addressed with an additional commitment of funding to health."
Mr Thomson said the new Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews should refund the money he was paid as minister for aged care.
"At a time when elderly people and staff in aged care families desperately needed someone to tackle quality of care problems, the under-funding of the industry and the absence of minimum staffing levels Mr Andrews was missing in action,'' Mr Thomson said.
Health Services Union
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