Elective Surgery in South Australian Hospitals

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: The minister assured the council earlier this week that there would be no cancellation of elective surgery today. Will the minister update the council on the management of elective surgery in South Australian hospitals?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Through you, Mr President, I thank the honourable member for their question and their ongoing interest in the South Australian public health system. Today, South Australians can rely on their hospitals to provide scheduled surgery after the ANMF abandoned its industrial bans. Today is the day that the nurses' union had nominated to start cancelling elective surgery.

I am very pleased that today the 44 South Australians who are scheduled to receive elective surgery will receive that surgery. Today, 44 South Australians and their families and the medical professionals who care for them have been freed from the anxiety and uncertainty sown by the ANMF, egged on by Labor. Considering the bans were apparently ongoing surgery for many more South Australians was put at risk. Labor's active support of the nurses' union highlights that Labor will always put unions before people.

Faced with a union campaign threatening patient safety, they scared patients by suggesting that they would not get their care. Faced with a union threatening to defy an order of the industrial tribunal, they encouraged the law of the jungle in industrial relations. Faced with a choice between the unions or the people of South Australia, Labor backed the union. Yesterday, even after the union had backed down, Labor members of this place did not step back. They continued to agitate against the government when we had averted a misguided and futile ban. In government and in opposition, Labor puts politics before patients. Today, the secretary of the ANMF admitted on radio that she had been approached by Labor to run as their candidate. She indicated that she did not take up the offer, but you have to ask whether Labor's support for the nurses' union bans were part of making way for a potential Labor candidate.

We know they lost the trust of the South Australian people. They will never recover the trust of the people as long as they continue to disregard patient welfare in the pursuit of political gain. Labor's Transforming Health deformed the South Australian public health system. Labor cut beds, they broke their promise and closed the Repat, they downgraded services at Modbury Hospital.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Noarlunga Hospital. They tried to close the neonatal unit at Flinders Medical Centre and they left the state with a $2.44 billion new hospital which doesn't even work properly. Labor in government mismanaged health and in opposition they continue to get in the way of good government. They continue to disrupt the government that is trying to fix their mess. The Marshall Liberal government will clean up Labor's mess. It won't happen overnight but we will work through the challenges in a methodical and consultative manner to improve health care in this state.