Local & Vocal

Nurses across NSW are taking every avenue to deliver the message to Coalition MPs.

‘Arrogant’ National MP dismisses nurse concerns

Acting NUM Mary Lou Fraser from Lismore Base Hospital wanted to ask the Federal Government face-to-face about the impact of IR changes on local nurses.

So she joined one of two NSWNA delegations to meet her local federal MP Ian Causley, the National Party member for Page.
After a 30-minute meeting in late-2005, Mary and other nurses were disappointed with Causley’s attitude.

‘His manner was arrogant and dismissive. At one stage he said, “I’ll say this for you slowly so you understand”,’ said Mary.
‘I handed him 200 letters of protest signed by workers in his electorate. Not one of us heard from him or received a reply.’

The MP dismissed as ‘unfortunate’ the negative impact of IR laws on local nurses, including a change that allows employers to insist on medical certificates for single-day absences.

‘Sick leave is a big issue for nurses,’ said Mary. ‘The legislation allows for employers to demand that workers get a medical certificate after one day’s illness.

‘But there is no bulk billing here and people cannot afford to travel long distances and pay a doctor to get a certificate.

‘I asked him to comment on the hardship that people would be under. He said that sickies are a real problem and tackling this is more important than our hardships,’ said Mary.

NSWNA Assistant Secretary Judith Kiejda said Mary’s experience shows just how out of touch politicians such as Mr Causley have become.