An innocuous question about the Gillard Government’s well publicised failure to provide medical internships for Australian-trained students provoked a bizarre response from senior Labor Minister Joe Ludwig in Question Time on Monday, according to Nationals Deputy Senate Leader Fiona Nash.
“The issue of the Government’s medical internships fiasco has been all over the media for weeks, so it seemed reasonable to ask the Minister if he thought people studying medicine in Australia have a reasonable expectation of being provided internships in Australia,” Senator Nash said.
“You could have heard a pin drop in the Chamber when Senator Ludwig said he hadn’t been given a brief on the subject and that I should go and talk to the Immigration Minister, of all people.”
“I went on to ask him what the point was of training more medical students through Australian universities if they can’t finish their training in this country.”
“For some reason, he responded by thanking me for ‘my ongoing interest in rural Australia’.”
Senator Nash asked the Minister a third question informing him the Government could fix the problem for only about one tenth on what it had spent advertising carbon tax compensation earlier this year.
“He started babbling on about the Coalition Government in the mid 2000s, so I just gave up,” Senator Nash said.
“This is typical of a Government that is incapable of implementing relatively simple solutions to relatively simple problems.”
“These medical students have spent a lot of time and money training in Australian universities; all they need now are their internships to become qualified doctors and help plug the 1600 GP shortfall in regional Australia.”
“Yet the Government manages to stuff it up to such an extent that many of these young people will likely end up overseas with no benefit for Australia,” Senator Nash concluded.
Media contact: Murray Lees 0417 406 338
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