More silly Liberal games today. True to form the Canberra Liberals are taking comments I made today out of context. This should be no surprise to anyone who watches ACT politics closely.
For those who weren’t tuned into the Public Accounts Committee hearing into Emergency Department performance today, right at the end of proceedings I made a light hearted comment about the life expectancy of a health minister and the fact that I have lasted longer than most.
Health Minister’s don’t have a long life expectancy. I’ve said it a number of times. The health portfolio is a difficult one for any administration of any political persuasion. I am the second longest serving health minister in the country. I’ve seen plenty of us come and go. It’s the nature of the work – bad headlines, human stories, increasing demand for services that know no budgetary discipline. But it’s also a story of saving lives, immense dedication and incredible human skills.
I genuinely care about the health system. Its full of good people doing amazing work 24/7. I am working with these health professionals to improve the system and get it ready for the future. Too often politicians are accused of taking the easy way out but it’s not the approach that I have taken to my job.
I know that being health minister will cause me headaches. I know there will be problems that I have to take responsibility for. Part of that responsibility means staying the course and doing the hard work that needs to be done to reform and improve the system. The easy option is to walk away and make it someone else’s problem.
I can’t tell you the amount of people who have advised me to get rid of the “poisoned chalice” of the health portfolio – advisers from all political persuasions and positions. The commonly held view is that the health portfolio is a no-win situation and that a “popular” politician can’t withstand the fall out from the constancy of negative publicity. This isn’t only an ACT phenomenon – its a national one – indeed its a world wide one.
Just for the record this isn’t a view I share. I’m not doing my job to be “popular”. I do my job because I care and I want to improve the city my family and I live in.