Ministers remain silent
FIRST she refused to say whether she would help him, now Richmond MP and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot is refusing to say what hoops Wilsons Creek widower Ashley Mackinnon will have to jump through before she will answer questions about his case.
Mr Mackinnon and his two children are on the verge of losing their home as they struggle with massive debts racked up during the battle to save his wife and children’s mother, Leah Chapman, from breast cancer.
Mr Mackinnon has applied for help through the Federal Government’s little-known medical treatment overseas program, but the application and a subsequent appeal were both refused.
When The Northern Star tried to ask Ms Elliot what she was doing or could do to help Mr Mackinnon, she refused to answer, saying Mr Mackinnon would have to provide ‘formal consent’ to the Department of Health and Ageing before she could discuss his case.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon used a similar answer to bat away questions.
The Star asked a spokeswoman for Ms Elliot on Monday night for details on what Mr Mackinnon would have to do to provide formal consent.
The spokeswoman responded yesterday, refusing to spell out the process and saying Mr Mackinnon would have to call the department’s switchboard, which would put him through to a bureaucrat able to tell him what new hurdles he would have to jump.
Mr Mackinnon made that call yesterday morning. The switch was ‘not overly helpful’, he said.
He was eventually put through to voicemail in the department’s public affairs section. As of yesterday afternoon, no one had returned his call.
To join an online petition organised by Gold Coast woman June Rhodes calling for the Government to help the Mackinnons, go to the website.