FERGO ‘NEEDS REST’: HICKEY
LIBERAL Speaker Sue Hickey says Health Minister Michael Ferguson “might just need a rest, or … [to] get a bit more help” as pressure mounts on the Government to inject more cash into the hospital system.
Speaker Sue Hickey I think Michael probably needs ... to work closer with the Premier and his cabinet
— SUE HICKEY
LIBERAL MHA Sue Hickey has suggested Health Minister Michael Ferguson “might just need a rest, or … [to] get a bit more help” as pressure mounts on the Government to inject more cash into the state’s troubled health system.
The Parliamentary Speaker said Mr Ferguson was in a “terrible position” and has called on the Government to relieve him of his other portfolios so he can give health his full attention.
Ms Hickey first raised the issue in the Mercury’s Talking Point pages earlier this week and, speaking to ABC radio yesterday, she added Mr Ferguson “probably does need to change the way he relates to people to some extent”.
“Michael is very strong on his ideas and I do believe he’s doing his very best but that doesn’t mean that that’s the right outcome,” she said.
“I think every single day for 10 months having health as the front page or a very serious issue in the newspaper is a worry for everybody.
“I think Michael probably needs a significant mini-budget injection of cash to continue through… and I think he probably needs to work closer with the Premier and his cabinet, and the cabinet need to support him.”
Ms Hickey stepped away from the Liberal party line after Royal Hobart Hospital staff on Tuesday complained the facility had suffered its worst day this year.
Premier Will Hodgman has thrown his support behind Mr Ferguson despite repeated calls from the Opposition for the Health Minister to resign.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor backed Ms Hickey’s call for Mr Ferguson to shed his other portfolios.
“We think Michael Ferguson’s workload is far too heavy, but that doesn’t excuse him ... he had four years to undertake those significant structural changes that we know need to be taken,” Ms O’Connor said.
Ms Hickey has also called on all sides of politics to collaborate on new solutions to the state’s woes — and stop blaming each other when things go wrong.
“I’m not saying nothing’s being done, I’m saying a lot’s being done but is it being done strategically or is it a reaction to the latest press release,” she said.
“Health is such a massive thing, it’s clearly in crisis, the Premier has agreed to that.
“It’s time now to have a more collaborative approach.”
Ms Hickey said none of her colleagues had contacted her since she first spoke on the issue to the Mercury.