A union leader opposed to resolving a doctors’ contract dispute is a NSW militant, Queensland’s health minister says.
The Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) is leading the campaign against Qld government moves for doctors to sign individual contacts by April 30.
But the union for senior medical officers is embroiled in a new controversy after News Corp Australia revealed that ASMOF national president Tony Sara and union officials had formed a “war cabinet” to oppose contract negotiations with an “over-my-dead body list”.
“The game has to be played to the bitter end, to get the best deal possible,” Dr Sara wrote in an email obtained by The Courier-Mail.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said this showed the Sydney-based union leader wasn’t interested in reaching a compromise.
Mr Springborg on Thursday described Dr Sara as “a militant union official, who’s basically indicated by his own words that he’s not interested in finding a solution”.
Dr Sara has issued a statement, accusing Mr Springborg of using the newspaper to escalate the dispute with doctors.
“I call on the Queensland health minister to recognise that cheap hits in a tabloid newspaper is not a way to resolve the dispute – negotiation is the only way forward,” he said, adding he was a full-time doctor and medical manager in the NSW public health system and not a union official.
Premier Campbell Newman told Fairfax radio the emails showed ASMOF “didn’t want to solve the problem”.
Mr Springborg said the Australian Medical Association had “played themselves out” of negotiations by being “too closely aligned to Tony Sara and the militant unions”.