Ready, Willing and Able

Posted April 4, 2014

Your action is working and we can prove it.

This week the government have shown that the campaign is working by changing legislation to attempt to resolve one of the key issues in dispute and trying to sue your union to stop you getting the advice you need to keep campaigning. See advice about the legislation and the court action below.

This week Queenslanders showed you that the campaign is working, with the Working for Queenslanders poll showing that the government will lose the next election if they don’t come back to the table and negotiate with you.

This week a number of solutions have also been circulated to doctors from our Keep our Doctors Taskforce and provided to the Government to try and get the government back to the table so we can resolve this dispute and have you being able to focus on treating patients instead of analysing legal advice. Unfortunately the Government haven’t wanted to do that just yet – hopefully soon!

This is a critical time in our campaign to keep our health system strong and keep you working for Queenslanders:

  • Don’t sign – the contract offered is still too dangerous to you and your patients.
  • Keep sending in your resignations – unless the Government are prepared to negotiate doctors may take this step very soon
  • Talk to your family, friends and neighbours – many doctors are calling on their neighbours or dropping a note in their letterboxes or even setting up at the local shops to chat to people about the effects of these contracts and legislative change on patients.
  • Come to the “pineapple” meeting at the convention centre to discuss the options document and the way forward to resolve this dispute – April 9.

Polling results

The polling shows that 76% of Queenslanders believe that the government should return to the table and negotiate with doctors. 75% of those surveyed are opposed to the Queensland Government replacing existing Queensland doctors with foreign doctors. Full details here. 

Court action update

As you would be aware Together and Alex Scott personally are being sued by Queensland Health. A hearing was held in the Federal Court on Tuesday about when the matter would be set down for a full hearing. Queensland Health’s lawyers did not press their agenda to have the matter heard immediately and agreed to the dates proposed by lawyers acting for Together. The matter has been listed for further directions 23 May.

It was also raised in Court that comments made by the Director-General reported in the media on 1 April resulted in the Director-General (through QHealth lawyers) providing an apology to the Court. 

Legislation update

The Director-General has emailed you all with his spin on the changes made to the Health and Hospital Boards Act. The reality is it’s not that simple.

We are still working through the legal intricacies of how to read the contract, the addendum and this new legislation but we know one thing for sure. Unless the Minister sits down and negotiates properly to avoid a drafting disaster there will be holes in this.

There are already some obvious holes in the amendment – there is still no robust dispute resolution process and there appears to be a contradiction in the Minister's direction and the Health Employment Directive the DG has issued.

We are working through the legal implications of this and will have advice to you early next week.

In the meantime please review the options paper we have sent out about the real solutions available here.

You deserve better and so do your patients and all Queenslanders. We all deserve certainty and not policy making on the run and pronouncements from on high in Corporate Office that have real and damaging consequences in our hospitals.

Our campaign is continuing and we are ready, willing and able to negotiate to resolve the crisis – we just need the Minister to sit down and do so.