Jan 27, 2022

Aged care minister ditched COVID-19 hearing to attend the Ashes Test match

Aged care minister ditched Covid-19 hearing to attend the Ashes test match

Federal Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck is once again in hot water after he chose to attend the Ashes cricket series instead of a COVID-19 Committee hearing scrutinising the government’s COVID-19 response.

Documents have revealed that Mr Colbeck declined to attend the COVID-19 Committee hearing, claiming that it would be “diverting time and resources” away from the “urgent and critical work” that he and the Department of Health are currently undertaking.

The invitation to attend the committee hearing was sent to Mr Colbeck by Senator Katy Gallagher, who blasted the Federal Aged Care Services Minster’s actions on the ABC on Wednesday.

“People in aged care who are living through this crisis would find that a bit hard to stomach while the system is in crisis,” said Senator Gallagher.

“We took that at face value, that he was working hard on this and having a hearing would disrupt that work, only to find out he was at the cricket not for one day, but three days.”

Upon declining the committee’s invitation, Mr Colbeck stated that both he and the Health Department “recognise the importance of accountability to the Senate, including scrutiny of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 response.”

He then went on to offer a “one-hour briefing to the Committee” via a video conference call instead.

“At a time when the Australian Government continues to work to protect the lives of senior Australians in care, attempts by the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 to redirect resources away from the Department of Health for political purposes is of serious concern and should be noted by Australians as we navigate the impact of the pandemic,” the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson also claimed that Mr Colbeck had engaged in meetings with the National COVID Vaccine Taskforce on the day in question and that attending the cricket was a byproduct of his role as the sports minister.

It’s a public sentiment that began in 2020 when Mr Colbeck infamously walked out of the chamber during a senate inquiry into the government’s handling of coronavirus in aged care to avoid being scrutinised by Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong.

Mr Colbeck’s continual absence and avoidance of scrutiny regarding failing in aged care is a trend that was not lost on Senator Katy Gallagher.

“The government doesn’t want to attend or has things they don’t want questions asked about because I’ve never experienced such difficulty in getting officials and ministers in place to answer questions,” she said. 

“It displays an arrogant complacency which is out of touch with people’s real-life experience of the aged care system.”

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  1. How dare he – shows you how much he cares about his portfolio – I’m past being angry- I’m furious

    1. First there’s anger, then there’s furious, then despair at how helpless we are and how nothing will change. These people do what they will, people like us suffer what we must.

  2. I work in aged care and have had to sacrifice (willingly) so much to protect the wonderful people I support. To say the ministers actions make me angry would be a huge understatement. The arrogance and and blatant disregard this government has for the more vulnerable members of our society is a national disgrace, they have to go.

  3. I am not surprised by these kind of actions anymore. Its clear the government doesn’t care about aged care.

  4. Unfortunately this Aged Care Minister continues a long tradition of Aged Care Ministers who believe they cannot have any impact on Aged Care. Why not go to the Cricket, not doing anything useful in Aged Care !

  5. As a front line worker in a residential aged care facility that has had their workers working double shifts throughout the pandemic due to lack of qualified employees and with us all consciously choosing to not go out in public gatherings and continuing to wear masks even when no longer mandated to protect our residents this arrogance reeks of him being not only arrogant but uneducated in the needs of his portfolio. Shame on him

  6. Sounds to me that Mr Colbeck is just a puppet. In any other situation he would have been stood down, but not in Aged Care. Why? Because if he actually did something tangible for the system it would cost the government more! No past and present leaders want the financial responsibility that obviously needs more dollars thrown it’s way and the prospect of private Aged Care paying staff more is scaring the government into inaction for fear some companies may close shop. Then what to they do? All Australians should have the right to care when the time comes and if it means all of us paying more tax for the security of everyone then so be it.

  7. By the way. We don’t need billion dollar state of the art Aged Care facilities. What we need are homes with open verandahs and a homely kitchen with 4 to 6 bedrooms. Let’s keep the ridiculous price of these buildings down and use what we have in our suburbs and stop hiding our elderly away from society and stop going so magnificent with the expensive buildings that suck so many in and take the inheritance from struggling loved ones and making corporate big boys/girls rich on all the hard years of slog these people have worked for all their lives. They are strangers profiting from the elderly and taking everything they can from families.

  8. Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Minister for Sport

    The Royal Commission into Aged Care revealed the appalling state of affairs in our country.
    If the current government was remotely serious about addressing all issues they would NOT have Colbeck also responsible for sport. He has displayed on many occasions he struggles.
    He will be removed with the current government at the next election!

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