Queensland’s health minister has accused the Labor Party of ‘living through the nurses union’ in the run-up to the by-election in Stafford.
Queensland’s health minister has accused Labor of “living through the nurses union bosses” as union members campaign against government initiatives at the upcoming Stafford by-election.
Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle said her members and other unions would be handing out flyers on July 19 highlighting how 1431 positions had been cut in Brisbane’s metro north region since the Liberal National Party took power in 2012.
Campaigners will not be advocating for any particular party, rather they will highlight that nursing and midwifery positions account for half those cuts, she said.
“We will be having a presence at the polling booths to send the message to the community to think about health care when they cast their vote,” Ms Mohle told AAP.
“We never tell our members or the community how they should vote.”
But Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the Stafford by-election union campaign was linked to the Labor Party.
“The nurses union will advocate that people vote for the Labor Party as they always do,” he told AAP.
“This is Labor living vicariously through the nurses union bosses.”
The minister blamed the state hospital cuts on former federal Labor treasurer Wayne Swan’s decision in late 2012 to cut $103 million in health funding to Queensland.
This equated to $22 million being removed from Brisbane’s metro north health district, which includes the electorate of Stafford, he said.
The nurses union had been silent on this, he said, and on the former state Labor government’s health payroll debacle.
A spokesman for the minister said the LNP had expanded community midwifery services.
The nurses union is highlighting how 700 nursing and midwifery positions have been cut since 2012, including at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Prince Charles Hospital.
It is holding a candidates’ forum on Wednesday.
The by-election was sparked by the resignation of LNP member Chris Davis, a former assistant health minister and director of geriatric medicine at Prince Charles Hospital.