WA Inc behind health minister resignation?
By Jonathan Strauss and Anthony Benbow
PERTH — Controversial health minister Keith Wilson resigned from state cabinet on November 13, ostensibly due to his opposition to the federal government's policies on health funding. But Labor parliamentarians have linked the resignation with the findings of the WA Inc royal commission, which referred to Wilson as "a man with a troubled conscience".
As health minister, Wilson opposed safe sex campaigns, favouring the slogan "It's okay to say no" and material that stressed monogamy and sexual abstinence. Information on safe sex was not readily available from the health department.
ACT UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) spokesperson Wayne Roberts said the group was "ecstatic" over the resignation. "Ever since ACT UP started we have been campaigning for effective safe-sex education, and we approached Keith Wilson numerous times, asking him to stop stalling and run a proper campaign.
"But he was continually evasive, refused to see us, cancelled prearranged appointments, and even called police to remove us on one occasion. ACT UP is glad to see him go, and we are hopeful that the premier and the new health minister will implement a proper campaign to protect the lives and well-being of the young people of WA in time for the summer school holidays."
Wilson consistently prevented the implementation of a youth safe-sex awareness campaign, going against a decision of the ALP state executive and ignoring protests from his own department as well as the wider community.
Wilson criticised the insufficient federal government funding of public hospitals and opposed the new Medicare agreement that will increase the Medicare levy to 1.4 per cent. But he also proposed a greater role for private health insurance, with the possibility that many might be legally compelled to take out private cover. n