Wednesday 22nd August 2007
In her address to Annual Conference, Federal Shadow Minister for Health Nicola Roxon said nurses can make a difference by how they vote in the federal election. ‘How we vote will affect our community and families. Your decision on polling day will affect what happens in the future.’
Nicola said there were clear differences in policy between Labor and Liberal.
‘Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has a different view to John Howard about how we should be investing in the future,’ she said.
In the area of health, Labor will be focusing on preventative health. Public education will be a focus of Labor health policy.
Nicola Roxon wants a health system that supports nurses. ‘Unlike Tony Abbott, as Health Minister I won’t be accusing nurses of indoctrinating patients. There is no suggestion they would ever put their personal or political interests before their work.
‘Nurses work under extraordinary pressure, and they deserve our praise and gratitude. I want to do more for nurses.’
As part of this commitment, Nicola restated she would be establishing a position of Commonwealth Chief Nursing Officer if Labor is elected to government. The new position would strengthen nurses’ role and input to federal health policy.
In response to questions from delegates, Nicola said she would also consider HECS-free education for nurses, and introducing a Medicare Item Number for nurse practitioners so clients do not pay for prescriptions or diagnostic testing.