Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Bracks needs to monitor and supervise Campbell

The forced admission by Christine Campbell that she in fact knew that chroming was taking place in residential care destroys any shred of her remaining credibility as a minister in touch with her portfolio and the community.

Her press conference today where she attempted to hide behind the definitions of ‘monitoring’ and ‘supervising’ was also unconvincing and embarrassing.

Yesterday, Minister Campbell rejected my call for funding guidelines that reflect community values to be discussed at the next Community Services Ministers’ Conference meeting. In rejecting my suggestion that the issue be put on the agenda, Minister Campbell’s office said that they “already have guidelines based on community values”.

However, if Minister Campbell believes that her current guidelines are adequate, how does she explain that her own guidelines allowed chroming to take place in the first place?

Surely, the confusion that the Minister has created over the definitions of ‘monitoring’ and ‘supervising’ demonstrates a real need for clear national guidelines that ensure that funding is only granted when community values are met?

The funding issue is one thing but the Minister’s integrity is now also seriously in question.

Minister Campbell admits she knew that chroming took place.

Her attempt to duck for cover behind the meaning of two almost identical words is just semantics.

The simple fact is that the Bracks Government is completely out of touch with what the community wants.

The community doesn’t want chroming to occur in places that it funds.

The community also doesn’t want a minister to conveniently ‘forget’ about an issue and then hide behind a couple of dictionary definitions when she is finally cornered.

The Commonwealth gives a lot of money to the states to administer programs on the Commonwealth’s behalf. If this is the standard of judgement that state governments use, I believe that my intention to put this matter on the agenda of the next Community Services Ministers’ Conference meeting is more than justified.