Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Health Matters

WA Labor willing to sit down with Mr Barnett and nurses to prevent hospital chaos

Labor Statement

WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan has offered to facilitate talks between the warring Barnett Government and Western Australian nurses in a bid to end ongoing industrial action.

Mr McGowan said Premier Colin Barnett should stop using the Caretaker Conventions as an excuse for not negotiating with the nurses.

"Our nurses had been treated poorly by the Barnett Government," Mr McGowan said.

"Mr Barnett has used the Caretaker Conventions as a shield to claim that he cannot sign an in-principle agreement before March 9.

"However Mr Barnett is not telling the whole story.

"In a leaked letter from the State's Solicitor General to the Director General of the Department of Premier of Cabinet, the Solicitor General states 'the caretaker conventions are not matters of strict law, but in large part matters of judgment and common sense'."

Mr McGowan also said clause 3.1 of the Guidelines Applying in Western Australia during the State General Election Period 3012 (Caretaker Conventions) states:

The broad rule is for the Government to avoid entering into major contracts or undertakings or making major policy decisions during the caretaker period, including commitments that would be politically contentious or likely to commit an incoming government. Major project approvals or policy decisions should be deferred unless there is appropriate consultation with the Opposition parties.

"Therefore, WA Labor stands ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary to help resolve the issue," he said.

"Mr Barnett should just pick up the phone and call me today to arrange a meeting with the nurses.

"WA Labor believes our nurses deserve a good deal and is prepared to accept the deal they come up with.

"It's time for Mr Barnett to stop playing politics and get the job done."

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