It was easy to talk up the case for Carmel Tebbutt, Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and member for Marrickville. I addressed a big, enthusiastic fundraiser. It was a happy assignment.
I described her as a serious public servant.
When I was Premier Carmel was Minister for Community Services. She formed the view we needed a raft of additional child protection workers. She put the case to the budget committee of cabinet, persuaded the Treasurer and me.
As a result the state Labor government recruited and trained what turned out to be 870 additional child protection workers to pursue cases of children being abused. By the way in the 2003 State election Liberal leader, John Brogden threatened to junk this initiative.
And it was Carmel as Minister for Education who implemented the reduction in class sizes in the early years of schooling that was our key policy in the 2003 elections.
Threatened by the Green political party in Marrickville, Carmel can point out that it was the Green political party that blocked an ETS. We would be pricing carbon now without their December 2009 Senate vote.
Shame on the opportunists!
As Health Minister, Carmel is entitled to point out what happened to health under the last coalition government in NSW. They closed 2500 beds; triage category one performance was at 77 per cent whereas it’s now 100 per cent; after seven years of coalition government there were fewer ambulance drivers than there were at the beginning of the coalition’s time in government. A coalition government sowed the seeds of today’s nurse shortage by restricting pay movement to an average of 2.4 per cent per year. Since Labor came to power in 1995 the average pay for nursing staff has almost doubled.