VLAHOS QUITS

As Snelling ex­its days after RAH open­ing, an­other Min­is­ter leaves over health

The Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL MCGUIRE DANIEL WILLS

LA­BOR has been plunged into pre-elec­tion tur­moil, after Dis­abil­ity and Men­tal Health Min­is­ter Leesa Vlahos last night joined Jack Snelling in re­sign­ing from State Cab­i­net.

Ms Vlahos, who be­came the face of the Oak­den aged care scan­dal, re­signed, cit­ing “per­sonal health’’ rea­sons, although she will run at next March’s elec­tion and re­main in par­lia­ment in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil. “(Health Min­is­ter) Jack Snelling’s an­nounce­ment has given me the chance to reflect on my own plans,’’ she told The Ad­ver­tiser.

“Fol­low­ing sev­eral pe­ri­ods of ill­ness in re­cent months, I am step­ping down to al­low more time for my health in the near fu­ture.”

Ms Vlahos missed sev­eral sit­ting days in the most re­cent par­lia­men­tary sit­ting weeks be­cause of ill health.

In her state­ment, Ms Vlahos made no ref­er­ence to Oak­den, which is sub­ject to nu­mer­ous in­quiries, in­clud­ing one by ICAC Com­mis­sioner Bruce Lan­der, but said she was “very proud’’ of what she had achieved as a min­is­ter.

“In­clud­ing bet­ter care for vet­er­ans and the Jamie Lar­combe cen­tre, new sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­grams and a plan to im­prove ser­vices for peo­ple with bor­der­line per­son­al­ity dis­or­der,’’ she said.

Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill did men­tion Oak­den and praised his de­part­ing min­is­ter for lead­ing the “im­por­tant re­sponse to the ill treat­ment of pa­tients at the Oak­den fa­cil­ity, com­mis­sion­ing the re­port that has led to its clo­sure’’.

La­bor will hold a Cau­cus meet­ing at 10am to­day to pick re­place­ments for Ms Vlahos and Mr Snelling, who yes­ter­day sur­pris­ingly quit as Health Min­is­ter only two weeks after help­ing to open the new Royal Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal.

Favourites for pro­mo­tion to Cab­i­net in­clude Chris Pic­ton, cur­rently As­sis­tant Min­is­ter to the Trea­surer, and MP for Fisher Nat Cook.

Mr Snelling’s re­place­ment in the po­lit­i­cally volatile Health port­fo­lio is likely to be one of Po­lice Min­is­ter Peter Malin­auskas, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Su­san Close or Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Kyam Ma­her.

Mr Snelling’s shock res­ig­na­tion from the min­istry and par­lia­ment was re­ported ex­clu­sively on ad­ver­tiser.com.au yes­ter­day. At a sub­se­quent press con­fer­ence Mr Snelling said the de­sire to spend more time with his wife and six chil­dren was the driv­ing force be­hind his de­ci­sion.

He said he had started think­ing about his fu­ture after his bid to change seats from Play­ford to Florey sparked a pre­s­e­lec­tion bat­tle with that seat’s in­cum­bent Frances Bed­ford. Mr Snelling said yes­ter­day he was still con­fi­dent he would have won the seat.

He would not re­veal when he made the de­ci­sion to quit but said he had some “frank” dis­cus­sions with the Pre­mier.

Mr Weather­ill said he had known of Mr Snelling’s in­ten­tions for a “con­sid­er­able pe­riod’’ but would not be more spe­cific. “Ob­vi­ously I ini­tially asked Jack to re­con­sider his de­ci­sion, but it be­came ob­vi­ous to me it was about him and his fam­ily and it’s not some­thing I wish to in­trude upon.’’

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