Health care made to suffer in silence

POLLIES must get used to coming to protest towns like Lismore.

With our diversity and rambunctious spirit we are a thin-skinned pollie’s worst nightmare. But then again, ‘thin skin’ and ‘politician’ should not be used in the same sentence.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s visit yesterday, with four MPs in tow, gave every protester on the Northern Rivers the perfect excuse to get out the placards and strut their stuff.

The rumour mill kicked off late last week when the PM’s visit was on the lips of every organiser in town, and once it was confirmed there was no stopping them.

Protesters from cannabis activists, rail group Trains On Our Tracks, university students, and opponents to the Repco Rally dressed in their colourful best to get their point across.

It certainly makes you feel good to live in a democracy where you can speak out with no fear of reprisal.

But what disappointed me was the lack of protesters for the biggest issue the Northern Rivers faces this decade: Our health care system and its imminent demise.

Rudd was here to talk health and yet the protesters didn’t even mention the loss of staff at our hospitals, nor the eradication of local health services, the downgrading of funding by the NSW State Labor Party for our hospitals, and our urgent need to get stage three of our cancer unit on track.

Why weren’t our community organisations letting Rudd know this is our biggest concern? If we don’t speak out about our health system now there will be no change.

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