Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7118

Mr DUTTON (Dickson) (13:06): I want briefly to contribute to this debate because this is an incredibly important issue, particularly for regional areas that are in desperate need of trained nurses who otherwise cannot be found in the domestic market. If anybody wanted a demonstration of how this government puts its political masters ahead of the interests of the Australian people, they need look no further than what Minister O'Connor is providing for in this bill. This is an attack on the average worker and it is an attack on regional Australia. The fact is that this government is fully owned and operated by the union movement in this country, and this bill proves that beyond any doubt whatsoever. It is very difficult indeed for regional hospitals to attract the nursing skills that they need. It is very hard to attract the clinical services that specialist nursing staff require and in many cases need to be brought in under a 457 visa.

It is the case that this government promised to fix public hospitals. They promised that they would fix public hospitals by mid-2009 or seek at a subsequent election to take financial control of those 750 public hospitals. They said that as a government they had a plan for hospitals in this nation. They wanted to make it easier for people to see a doctor or nurse in a regional hospital. But, by their very action today, they show that they were at very best misleading in that claim after the 2007 election.

This is a government that has been filled with promises that have been broken on a daily basis. This is a government that has put the interests of union bosses ahead of Australian patients. This bill today demonstrates that again. This government, in its dying days, has demonstrated to the public yet again that it cannot be trusted. It has demonstrated to the Australian public, particularly those who live in regional areas where they find it incredibly difficult to get not just nursing staff but doctors and specialists, that this is a problem of the government's own making. This is a government that makes it harder for Australians, not easier. This is a government that makes it harder for Australia's public hospitals to operate, not easier. That is why this government should be condemned in relation to this bill.

I endorse very strongly the member for Cook's contribution to this debate, because this is a minister that is morally corrupt, that is completely owned and operated by the union movement—and it is unacceptable.

Mr Brendan O'Connor: I would ask the honourable member to withdraw those comments. I take them as a personal insult and I take offence.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Symon ): The member for Dickson will withdraw.

Mr DUTTON: If it assists the House, I withdraw. But it is a matter of public record that this minister's links to the union movement have spanned decades, and it is now Australian patients, doctors, nurses and those running public hospitals in regional areas who are going to suffer because of those very links. This minister is motivated not by patients or by helping out regional hospitals but by pleasing union bosses. That is why this government, in the public's eye, is done. The deals that this government has presided over with the union movement, with its bosses, condemns it to failure at the next election. That is why this parliament should oppose a particularly bad piece of legislation.