An outcome for doctors, not more political games.

Posted March 27, 2014

You will likely have seen in the news last night the Minister claiming that the letterboxing and community lobbying activities you are doing are not being done by real doctors, and the silly piece in the Courier Mail today publishing leaked emails about negotiation strategy. These are all distractions.

Together members have voted unanimously to reject the first offer from the Minister - the first addendum. Last night, thanks to the pressure of our campaign the DG released an amended addendum at a meeting at the RBWH. We are seeing this now circulating from our local Exec.

Doctors have rejected what has been offered so far and have asked the Minister to come back to the table and negotiate a sensible solution that is best for patients. That was the right thing to do. Now we have made more progress and we can review this version.

We have provided to the minister a number of options for resolution to be discussed. The Minister admitted to me and others at the one meeting he attended  that the reason he is not proposing amendment to the IR Act is ideological. It is not based on what is best for the health system or our patients.

We did not ask for this: it was the government changing the IR Act for the sixth time that brought this disaster to our doorstep.

All our legal advice and industrial advice to date has been that the contracts in this legislative framework are dangerous. We believe that there is more than one way of reaching an acceptable agreement, but we can’t ignore the continuing advice from a wide range of lawyers that SMOs and VMOs should not sign.

This is not a political game  - it is real life for doctors and patients. It is my real life. I haven't been deliberately “delaying” and I know we all want this to be over and settled but we also want a fair go for our patients, for the next generation of doctors and for ourselves. We can’t give in until we get that for the Queensland community.

Resigning

For doctors who feel that they must resign because they will not work under these contracts: you choose the date of your resignation but please send them to lockedbox@together.org.au as soon as possible to make the count right now.

While we know this is a last resort, we also know this isn’t the end of the fight – there will be more information about additional and escalating action by doctors in our workplaces over the next few week starting with "We won’t be fooled day" on 1 April. This event is about all public servants saying to the government "we won’t be fooled!” by your weasel words or broken promises. We won’t accept cuts to conditions through individual contracts, award stripping or legislative change! On Tuesday 1 April, join in a local activity in your hospital or service or join me at Parliament House to make your voice heard.

I will be in Brisbane at Parliament to talk about the Keep our Doctors campaign and to keep our message front and centre.

Yours in union,

Dr Sandy Donald