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Forget about Rudd, deliver health reform, PM: Mendoza
THE former chair of the Federal Government’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health, Professor John Mendoza, has questioned the government’s ability to deliver meaningful health reform in the wake of yesterday’s leadership ballot.
THE former chair of the federal government’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health (NACMH), Professor John Mendoza, has questioned the government’s ability to deliver meaningful health reform in the wake of yesterday’s leadership ballot.
Writing for the Crikey blog, Professor Mendoza – who in June 2010 famously quit his government advisory post in protest against perceived failures of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – said Labor had been “all over the shop” with regard to health reform under Mr Rudd’s leadership and appeared to have achieved little since his ousting in favour of Julia Gillard.
“Gillard and the rest of the government have spent most of the time and energy since Rudd’s removal cleaning up after the party,” wrote Professor Mendoza.
“It remains to be seen whether she and her colleagues have the capacity to build confidence beyond the caucus across the Australian community and deliver on Labor’s reform agenda in health and social policy.”
Professor Mendoza also described Mr Rudd’s approach to health reform – mental health reform in particular – as lacking focus with the PM unable to decide “from week to week what he was proposing in terms of health reform”.
“[Professor] Ian Hickie, David Crosbie and I were then enlisted to rapidly develop a package of $400 million of immediate investments for the government,” he wrote.
“We were not permitted to discuss it with other NACMH members or the sector more broadly. We worked through the summer and met several times with senior staffers, but by March in the run-up to COAG it was clear mental health had moved from the foreword to a footnote of health reform.”