CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
WEDNESDAY, 22 AUGUST 2018
SUBJECT/S: Peter Dutton’s appalling record as Health Minister; Greg Hunt’s offer of resignation; Liberal chaos and division
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE: Yesterday thirty-five members of the Liberal Party voted for Peter Dutton as their preferred prime minister and I want to remind people about Peter Dutton’s record as Health Minister.
Peter Dutton was voted as the worst health minister in the country and that wasn’t just Labor’s view or Labor saying that – that was the medical profession. Peter Dutton was the health minister who presided over $57 billion worth of cuts to our public hospital system. He was the architect of the GP tax, costing more for people to see the doctor. He cut millions of dollars out of prevention. He was the worst health minister in the country and it says everything about the Liberal Party that this is the bloke that they would prefer as prime minister.
And when we get to Greg Hunt he’s also been a disaster when it comes to being health minister. I understand he’s offered his resignation overnight – finally offered his resignation overnight. And that’s the right thing to do. This country deserves health ministers who actually care about health, who care about good quality, affordable, accessible health care – not see the health portfolio as a stepping stone in their political careers. So it’s right that the health minister offered his resignation. I think it’s right that he should actually go to the backbench. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: It’s all a bit of a gift to Labor isn’t it?
KING: I don’t think Labor sees any of this as a gift. We see it as very sad for the nation frankly that we’ve got a government that is completely and utterly unable to govern. Our public hospital systems deserve a government who is actually concentrating on what’s happening for patients. Our Medicare system deserves a government that actually does something about health care. Labor’s been working certainly for the last five years to make sure we’ve got the policies and are ready to govern. This government is frankly completely untenable.
JOURNALIST: Is Labor ready for a snap election?
KING: Labor will be ready any time an election is called because we’ve been working under the leadership of Bill Shorten every single day to make sure we’ve got the policies that will improve healthcare, improve education, improve the possibility of people getting opportunities and jobs in this country.
JOURNALIST: Do you have a better chance of winning of Peter Dutton is Prime Minister?
KING: Oh look I don’t think it matters at this stage who leads the Liberal Party. This is a party that is in chaos, it is absolutely divided. It’s clearly not been focusing when it comes to health, they’ve not been focusing on their day jobs, they’ve been focusing on trying to do the prime minister over.
JOURNALIST: What did you read out of Malcolm Turnbull’s body language in Question Time? Was that the point he sort of realised it was all over? Is that how you saw it?
KING: I think Question Time yesterday was symbolic of the complete shambles that they’re in. I think might got a very deflated backbench and that’s what happens when you have this sort of leadership instability and they’re not concentrating on the sorts of things that the country needs: improving our health care system, making sure people have opportunity through our education system, fixing the child care crisis or the aged care crisis. They’re not doing any of those things. We know how this plays out. We’ve seen it before and this government frankly is just untenable. Thanks guys.