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22 February 2010 Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton today called for an inquiry into an insider’s revelations of events within the Department of Health and the Health Minister’s office.

Mr Dutton said the Government must hold an open and transparent investigation to answer the serious questions raised by an article in The Sunday Age.

“These revelations cast serious doubts over actions taken by senior public servants and of the Minister’s management of her Department.”

“One of the claims was that public servants were using taxpayer funded computers for political purposes.”

“These allegations cannot be allowed to sit without answer.”

 “They need to know whether money has been wasted on PR exercises to make this Minister, the Prime Minister and the Government actually look as they are doing something in health.”

Mr Dutton said it was no good the Minister or Prime Minister assuring people that there is no problem.

“Clearly this insider article indicates that the Rudd Government will do anything to promote itself and not care one bit about actually doing something.”

“Apart from indicating that the department is mismanaged, this article questions the sincerity of the Prime Minister and Health Minister in their dealings over health matters.”

“Australians are entitled to know whether hundreds of thousands of dollars have been wasted on useless so-called ‘training’ courses.”

Mr Dutton said only an inquiry could answer the questions posed which included:

Is it true people are recruited with no concern for qualifications?

Is it true staff are given neither induction nor any training?

Is it true that hundreds of thousands of dollars of valuable savings are wasted on dubious “training” activities which have no relationship to the Department, its functions or staff roles?

Is it true that staff are flown around the country, housed in plush hotels with all expenses paid and then plied with travel allowances?

Is it true that departmental staff are used to duplicate work done in your office – a clear waste of time and money?

Is it true that your only response to the multi-million dollar National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report was to decide on Friday that the Prime Minister would respond on Monday – by starting a website and announcing more consultations?

Was the Minister and related Ministers in Health told to clear calendars for six months to stage a national tour for the media in other words to drop their responsibilities and produce spin?

Is it true there was no rhyme, reason or co-ordination of this process?

Is it true that the aim was to provide “pretty pictures of the government in consultation mode”?

Is it true that photographers across the country were hired to record these “con-sessions”?

Is it true that there was “no limit to the cost”?

Is it true that “money was thrown” at production companies to create “sincere-looking website testimonials” – yet another con?

 Is it true that staff were ordered to use the site and vote on its polls to generate hits?

This article is a damning critique of the Minister, her office and sections of the department – these are serious questions that must be asked and asked again and answers must be provided – only an open inquiry could do that, Mr Dutton said.

Media contact – John Wiseman 07 3205 9977 – 0429 983 618  


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