Good chat and cuppa with Labor candidates

Ryde Hospital nurses raised their concerns over a cuppa with Deputy Labor Leader, Julia Gillard, and ALP Candidate for Bennelong, Maxine McKew.

With 1,300 NSWNA members living in John Howard’s own electoral seat of Bennelong, nurses are a strong voice and their vote will influence whether the seat will stay with incumbent Howard or swing to the fresh Labor candidate Maxine McKew in the federal election later this year.

Having recently moved to within the Bennelong seat, Maxine was keen to meet local nurses and hear first-hand their issues and concerns.

With Deputy Labor Leader Julia Gillard, Maxine joined nurses and midwives from Ryde Hospital for morning tea on a sunny winter’s morning in June.

Around 60 nurses and midwives attended the morning tea organised by the NSWNA Ryde branch where they embraced the chance to talk to their local candidate and the Deputy Labor Leader. Nurses raised concerns about the new workplace laws, health funding and recognition of nurses’ professional skills.

Julia Gillard told the gathering that nursing is close to her heart, growing up with a father who worked as a mental health nurse.

She commended nurses on the valuable work they do. We’ve come a long way in recognising this, it’s been a long-term struggle, she said. ‘The pay and conditions of many nurses will be eroded if they are forced onto AWAs.’

Maxine spoke of the importance of health and a strong health system. ‘I have confidence in Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard to take us forward in areas such as health and climate change. They have commitment and an intellectual discipline.

‘For the past 10 years we have had a Liberal government that has notched up surpluses with no investment or sight on the future.’