THE HON. CATHERINE KING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PERTH
MONDAY, 11 JUNE 2018
SUBJECT/S: Perth by-election, Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to hospitals, Barnaby Joyce
PATRICK GORMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PERTH: I’m Patrick Gorman, Labor’s Candidate for the Perth by-election. It’s fantastic to have the Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, here today at Royal Perth Hospital. We’re here to talk about the $7.8 million cut that has been made by the Turnbull Liberal Government to our local health services, here in my community of Perth. We are talking to health professionals about how we make sure that we best support the Perth community, and of course, as Labor’s Candidate I’m not going to take a cut to our local health services lying down. So it’s fantastic to have Catherine here today.
I’ll also take the opportunity to say congratulations to Roger Cook, the State Health Minister, who on Sunday opened the Perth Children’s Hospital. It’s a great service for the people of Western Australia, and for my community here in Perth. It’s also another example of Labor cleaning up the Liberals’ messes when it comes to health. Today we’re talking about a $7.8 million cut to Royal Perth Hospital that’s contained within Malcolm Turnbull’s own Budget, and to say more about that I’ll pass over to the Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE: Thanks, it’s really lovely to be here with Patrick Gorman, our Candidate here in Perth. I’ve known Patrick for a long time – he’s a fairly new dad, cares deeply about this community, and I know will make a fantastic contribution in Canberra should he have the opportunity to represent the people of Perth.
We’re here today to talk about the importance of public hospitals. We think Malcolm Turnbull has got his priorities all wrong. Malcolm Turnbull has decided that he would rather back in $80 billion worth of tax cuts than properly fund our hospitals. We know that the Liberals from 2017 to 2020 alone have cut $7.8 million from Royal Perth Hospital. They’ve cut $77 million from hospitals across Western Australia. And we know from our doctors, from our nurses, from our emergency physicians – from the people who are trying to ensure that the people of Western Australia’s health is the best it possibly can be – that this cut is actually hurting. We know that presentations to emergency departments keep growing. We know that acuity in emergency departments keeps growing as well, and that those cuts really have made a significant difference.
Labor instead has a better plan. We’ve committed over $2.8 billion into public hospital funding, and that $2.8 billion will see more nurses, more doctors, more emergency department and elective surgery waiting times being met across the country. Labor has a plan for our public hospitals, Malcolm Turnbull just has an $80 billion tax giveaway to the big end of town. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Catherine, that $7.8 million [inaudible], where has that come from? What does that equate to?
KING: What it equates to is less nurses and less doctors being able to be employed here at Royal Perth Hospital.
What we saw was the Liberal Party decided to rip up Labor’s National Health Reform Agreement, an agreement with the states and territories. The Liberal Party went to the 2013 election saying that they would fund 50 per cent of efficient growth in hospital activity, in their own policy documents. But what they then did when Tony Abbott came to power was cut that, rip that document up, and said we’re not going to fund hospitals in that way. They’ve subsequently put a little bit more money in, but if they think doing a little bit better than Tony Abbott is funding our hospitals properly, they’re kidding themselves. That cut is a real cut that we’ve seen here at Royal Perth Hospital affecting staff.
JOURNALIST: What are staff saying to you?
KING: We’ll be touring the Royal Perth Hospital shortly, but staff across the country are all saying to me that they are seeing more and more people in our emergency departments, and that acuity is going up. They’re being asked to do more and more with less and less funding, and it’s simply not sustainable.
JOURNALIST: On another issue, as a woman are you outraged by the treatment of Vikki Campion by photographers?
KING: I think that this issue has obviously been a mess for everybody – for Vicki, for Barnaby, for Barnaby’s family and his daughters as well – and I don’t really want to buy into adding any more to that. I think everybody’s seen this play out on the national stage and I think it’s pretty awful for everybody involved, and not assisted by me commenting on it frankly.
JOURNALIST: Does Vikki Campion have a right to be left alone if she isn’t an elected official?
KING: Again, look I think I’ll leave that for them to talk about. I don’t think it’s helpful for them – or for any of the people involved in what has really been a pretty awful circumstance – to be playing it out on the national stage, and having me contribute to that.