for brains and her leadership over so many years. And wish Chrisand Connie all the best for their upcoming wedding.For colleagues, it is an exercise of love and loyalty to work for thisgreat Labor cause we believe in. But to do it together, makes iteven more satisfying. Thanks to my friends here – especially myVictorian colleagues, the class of ’98 and my ministerial friends.Thanks especially to Mark, Justine, Warren and Catherine for thework as the health team during the busy health reform days. Which bring me to a special thank you, to the Prime Minister, JuliaGillard.
She’s an amazing PM and an great Labor leader andan impressive woman. And a good friend to me. We shouldbe proud of her and her work, but more of that later.
Thanks also to the staff of the Parliament and to the twosecretaries and staff of the departments of health and AG’s.People love to send up bureaucrats, especially Canberrabureaucrats, but I found you and your teams highly capable, veryprofessional and hard working. Thank you.I fear those opposite, in wanting to tap into this common prejudiceagainst public servants, will slash many staff withoutunderstanding the scope of work that you do. The PBS can’t listnew drugs for sick Australians if bureaucrats don’t work throughthe process of approval, emergency hotlines can’t be staffed if theimportance of having a person at the end of the line is notrecognised, whether it is for flood assistance or a GP after hoursservice. Already we know we stand to lose more than 40 frontlinehealth workers locally– psychologists, mental health nurses andpharmacists - if the Liberals are elected and abolish MedicareLocals as they have committed to doing.Of course, I couldn’t stand up today, in this place, in this line of work and not acknowledge that it
does feel I am giving thisspeech at a hard time for Labor.
Even for true Labor believers there are times when it can feelfrustrating, or hard work, to come out to support a cause we allbelieve in deeply, for a party we all love deeply.