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Flack for Abbott after recruiting Church Resources boss

Federal Health and Ageing Minister Tony Abbott has angered HIV-AIDS community groups by excluding them from the Government's top advisory panel on sexually transmitted diseases in favour of Church Resources CEO Fr Michael Kelly.

Mr Abbott appointed Fr Kelly, a Jesuit who founded Church Resources in 1997, to the HIV/AIDS subcommittee of the panel. The subcommittee is due to meet tomorrow.

A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said the list of committee members was not finalised, but was "pretty representative" and included many health experts.

Fr Kelly told The Age that while he has "zero" experience in the health sector, he would be in a position to offer contributions on ethics to the subcommittee.

David Menadue, vice-president of the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, who will be a member of the HIV-AIDS subcommittee, said the appointments are "a strange mix of people" and represented a significant concern to community groups.

"I just think Tony Abbott is thinking, 'I want people who share my values and who give me advice I want to hear'," he said.

Mr Abbott is a Catholic and a monarchist. His appointments, which included Fr Kelly and prominent Monarchist and former RAAF officer Nick Hobson, prompted accusations he has selected people with like-minded views.

Fr Kelly conceded that he is a friend of Mr Abbott, but stressed that he disagrees with the Minister on many issues.

Abbott sparks AIDS ire (The Age 3/3/04)

Church Resources - About Us
Department of Health and Ageing - Hon Tony Abbott MHR
Tony Abbott - Member for Warringah
Australia Reaffirms Its Commitment To Tackling Sexually Transmissible Infections and Blood Borne Viruses (12/11/03) | 2002 Reviews of the National HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Strategies and Strategic Research

3 Mar 2004