The new cabinet minister dropped in to chat about her plans for the portfolio, as well as her background in nursing and union work.
“Once a nurse, always a nurse” is the attitude that Labor’s Ged Kearney is bringing to her role as Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care.
This week, Ms Kearney joined The Tea Room to chat nursing, aged care, worker advocacy and refugee healthcare.
But in a bit of a Tea Room scoop, Ms Kearney says the area that she’s most keen to sink her teeth into is how healthcare is delivered differently between the sexes. The bias, Ms Kearney says, is not even hidden but is “writ large before our very noses”.
She’s getting everyone she knows who’s interested in the topic to “sit around a table and design an inquiry or a deep dive” into women’s health outcomes, she says.
Before entering politics in 2018, Ms Kearney worked as a nurse on a gastrointestinal ward and was federal secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation and in 2010 was elected president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Experience in both healthcare and union work have influenced her priorities for the role going forward.
“I’m interested in healthcare for [culturally and linguistically diverse] groups, for our migrant communities, for our LGBTIQ communities, for people who, for various reasons, have really serious barriers in accessing the healthcare system, particularly the primary health care system,” Ms Kearney says.
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