Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, says he is braced for a frontbench reshuffle within the Labor Party that will see the Shadow Minister for Health replaced following the Redcliffe by-election.
Mr Springborg predicted Labor would seize the opportunity of having an additional Member of Parliament to strip the current Shadow Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, of her health responsibilities following a lacklustre performance last year where she asked only two questions to the Minister in the almost $13 billion portfolio.
“Only two questions out of 660 Questions without Notice asked throughout the year during Question Time, were from Labor’s Shadow Minister for Health to me,” Mr Springborg said.
He said the Labor Party was also struggling to appease union bosses with Mrs Miller’s background as Parliamentary Secretary for Health under the previous Labor Government when she served under now-jailed former Health Minister Gordon Nuttall.
“During this time Mrs Miller helped oversee the outsourcing of frontline medical services including at the Caboolture Hospital Emergency Department and helped float a policy to introduce co-payments for surgery which has since been axed by the LNP Government,” he said.
Mr Springborg said Labor’s Shadow Minister had also been the Parliamentary Secretary for Health in 2006 when the current framework for employment conditions for doctors was embedded.
“Given the Auditor-General last week found anecdotal evidence that the scheme had resulted in private fee paying patients being given quicker access than public patients within our free public hospitals, Mrs Miller has found it hard to justify her involvement,” he said.
Mr Springborg said the Leader of the Labor Party would let union bosses pick the replacement Shadow Minister for Health.
“When it comes to health, Labor has a track record of always delivering for union bosses and never delivering for patients,” he said.
“I suspect the new Shadow Minister for Health will either go to Jackie Trad and Yvette D’Ath as the Union bosses are desperately demanding the Labor Party tries to put distance between the
Labor MPs who were in the State Parliament when nurses, doctors and health workers weren’t even getting their pay-packets under Labor,” he said.
* Media Fast Facts
- Total Questions Without Notice asked during Question Time in 2013: 660
- Total Questions Without Notice asked during Question Time by the Shadow Minister for Health to the Minister for Health: 2 (0.3% of total)
- The two questions were asked on 8th August and 19th March 2013