18 November 2010 The Gillard Government has refused to let the Parliament vote on a Coalition motion to boost mental health care.
The motion should have been voted upon in the House of Representatives today, but the Government failed to include it among the matters to be determined and debated.
“Clearly the Gillard Government fears that it will lose the vote. It is frightened to allow the Parliament of Australia to express its views,” Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton said.
“Its behaviour is outrageous.”
A move to bring the motion to a vote by the Coalition saw a tied vote 72-72 with two Independent MPs voting with the Coalition. The ballot was lost on the casting vote of the Speaker.
“I’d like to thank the Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie and the Member for O’Connor Tony Crook for supporting the Coalition on mental healthcare,” Mr Dutton said.
“This is the government that promised openness and transparency and time for Private Members business under the so-called ‘new paradigm’, but when it thinks it might not have the numbers all that goes out the window.”
At least two Independent MPs have publicly stated their support for the Coalition motion which calls for significant expansion of the headspace and EPPIC programs to tackle mental illness at the time it strikes most often – teenage and early adult years.
Mr Dutton said the Gillard Government stood condemned for its failure to take action on mental health and now stood condemned for its lack of fortitude to confront its failures.
“This is a weak government that is running away from the mental health issue, clear evidence that Julia Gillard and her government have lost their way every bit as much as her predecessor Kevin Rudd.”
Media contact – John Wiseman 02 6277 4884 – 0429 983 618