State Government can’t continue to turn “blind eye” to independent inquiry into SA Health: SA-BEST
The State Government cannot continue to ignore the “want of the people” and persist in ruling out an independent judicial review into the embattled public health system.
SA-BEST MLC and Health spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, was speaking in support of a coalition of health and aged care advocates - led by Oakden whistleblower, Stewart Johnston, and chemotherapy bungle victim, Andrew Knox – who are calling for an authoritative judicial review into SA Health.
She called on Treasurer Rob Lucas to commit the necessary funds – ideally from the $289 million budget surplus he is boasting about today - to ensure the review was undertaken as a matter of urgency.
“The public’s faith in our health system is at an all-time low due to this government’s continued recalcitrance to commit to a truly independent, transparent and accountable investigation into SA Health,” Connie said.
“Public confidence in the main pillars of our society – law and order, education, health, etc – needs to be beyond reproach,” she said.
“That is being forever tarnished by the State Government while it continues to arrogantly deny its duty of care to the taxpayers of South Australia.
“To simplistically appoint a taskforce of senior public servants to investigate the grave concerns raised by the ICAC Commissioner of corruption and maladministration inside SA Health is literally asking public servants to investigate their own – it’s ludicrous.
“So too is the fact – by the Health Minister’s own admission - that the taskforce does not have the powers to lay - or refer - criminal charges against any public servant it finds to have committed some criminal activity.
“The government’s behaviour can only be described as scandalous.
“It has totally misjudged the mood of the people – the very people who decide who governs this state.”
Connie feared the deeper the scandal surrounding SA Health got, the more it’s becoming apparent Health Minister, Stephen Wade, is getting further out of his depth.
Connie said she has invited ICAC Commissioner, Bruce Lander, to give evidence before the Select Committee into Health Services in SA she chairs.
Her colleague and Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee member, Frank Pangallo, has also requested Commissioner Lander be called before the Committee as a matter of urgency to provide further detail into his scathing report into SA’s $6 billion health system, which was tabled in Parliament last week.
Commissioner Lander slammed the department’s “inappropriate integrity culture” and said it is in the public interest to divulge his areas of concerns “to ensure SA Health is accountable to the public”.
“I don’t understand the government’s reluctance to hold an independent investigation into SA Health,” she said.
“The government has nothing to lose and everything to gain - the crisis besieging SA Health had its genesis with the former Labor Government.
“Minister Wade claims a Royal Commission will cost too much money and take too long to complete – what cost do you put on patients’ lives?”