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Catholic Health welcomes Abbott as new Health Minister

Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has responded optimistically to the appointment of former seminarian Tony Abbott to the portfolio of Health and Ageing in the Cabinet of Prime Minister John Howard.

"I hope that his social conscience drives reform, not economic extremism, or pandering to the big moneyed interests of the health industry," said Mr Sullivan. "Everyone recognises the fiscal challenges. However it is primarily a community responsibility that we all contribute so that the sick are covered."

He said Abbott's challenge will be to ensure Australia does not slip into a welfare model where the well off and fortunate are absolved from their obligations to care for the sick and poor.

Tony Abbott, outgoing Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, replaces Senator Kay Patterson. Mr Sullivan thanked Senator Patterson for her efforts, describing her as a "genuine minister" who "struggled with the media to get her message across".

Ageing Minister Kevin Andrews - often described as a "devout Catholic - is replacing Abbott in the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio. Mr Sullivan paid tribute to his "genuine concern for elderly people", expressing the hope that "he takes the same attitude to the issues confronting working people and their families".

Catholic Health Australia

Changes to ministerial arrangements (Prime Minister's Media Release)
Catholic Health Australia
Howard Government Ministers
Department of Health and Ageing - Ministers
Tony Abbott - Member for Warringah | Reform with a Social Conscience
Doctor groups hail promotion of 'head kicker' (The Age)
Editorial: Abbott the key player for the next election (The Australian)
Abbott, Pell 'put unborn ahead of the living' (26/8/02)
Abbott defends Church on sex abuse (26/6/02)
Politicians to reveal links between politics and family (30/4/03)

30 Sep 2003