Despite the willingness of nurses and midwives to enter genuine negotiations with VHIA, as indicated by our reopening the beds closed through industrial action, eight days on VHIA and the Baillieu government had still made no forward movement.
ANF (Vic. branch) is a strong organisation that has a long history of achieving the aims of its members. The keys to our previous success are a combination of commitment (from Council, Executive and staff through reps to members), clear goals, and community involvement. For the most part people like nurses and midwives, and though often distracted by a preoccupation about bed pans, have some idea of how essential our roles are in achieving quality care and outcomes for our patients.
Some of what we wanted was complicated, and the impact of what the government wanted sounded reasonable on its surface – flexibility that would benefit nurses/midwives and our patients, and being freed of menial work so we could focus on nursing care. So in addition to the radio and short TV ads I’ve linked to previously, on December 4th 2011 ANF kicked up the pace, with the first community rallies – opportunities to show nurses and midwives and individual hospitals that they weren’t alone, while explaining to them and to the public exactly what was at stake. And the first community rally was held at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals, a year ago today.
Our campaign is over, but it seems as though the Premier and his advisers have learned nothing from the protracted and periodically bitter dispute they had with us – the Australian Education Union appears, at least from my perspective as an outsider, to be no closer to resolution than they were six months ago, despite dropping the demand that Premier Baillieu keep his promise that they’d be the best paid teachers in the country.
In one year, eleven months, three weeks and four days Mr Baillieu and his Ministers will pay the price for breaking his promises – I just hope it’s before the damage wrought to our emergency services and public sectors isn’t irrevocable.