I’m delighted to have been appointed as the Shadow Minister for Health by the Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese.
As the longest serving Shadow Treasurer in Australian history, it’s time to hand over the portfolio. One of the reasons I am comfortable in leaving the portfolio is that I hand it over to such an accomplished performer as Jim Chalmers. He and I have worked closely together for three years. He will have my full support in the role.
I would also like to acknowledge my predecessor as Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King. Catherine has spent the last six years advocating for a better health care system for all Australians.
As Shadow Minister for Health I will hold the Morrison Government to account for their appalling record and cuts to the health system in Australia.
As a Western Sydney MP and resident, I’ll be keen to tackle the scourge of diabetes, obesity and the other health challenges in areas of low income and poor health outcomes.
Closing the Gap of Indigenous disadvantage in health will also be one of my key areas of priority.
I have long had a passionate interest in mental health and suicide prevention. This will now be a focus in my portfolio.
Medicare is one of Labor’s greatest achievements. It must be protected and grown. To be a successor of the likes of Bill Hayden and Neal Blewett as Labor’s Health spokesman is a great honour.
I look forward to becoming Minister for Health in the Albanese Labor Government.