Politics with Michelle Grattan

Chris Bowen on the recession, aged care and priorities for health policy

September 3, 2020

Had the 2019 election panned out differently, Chris Bowen would have been the treasurer coping with Australia's current economic crisis.

Instead, as shadow health minister, he has been critical of aspects of the government's handling of the health issues, especially its failure to act earlier and more comprehensively to secure access to potential vaccines.

With Labor homing in on aged care, which has seen the deaths of hundred of residents, Bowen in this podcast questionsd the performance of the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. 

"I was frankly shocked by a number of things.

"I was shocked by the fact the regulator was informed by St Basil's, [that] they had a positive case – and on the face of it, did nothing. I've seen no evidence that they actually did anything about it. Their defence is it was somebody else's job - we had no role to play.

"I just don't think that cuts the mustard for a regulator. 

"I was surprised to learn that no-notice or very short notice inspections had [ by the regulator] ceased during the pandemic. 

"I think these are problematic decisions which the regulator is accountable for, and I do have deep concerns about [them].

"And as a parliamentarian, I am expressing the view that there have been shortcomings [by the regulator] and I've yet to see an adequate explanation for those."

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