July 27, 2010 | Graham

McGorry demonstrates how bad Rudd’s political management was

I knew that John Howard would be in trouble at the 2007 election the instant that Tim Flannery was appointed Australian of the Year. It was obvious that Flannery would spend his 12 months flaying the government on climate change.

Howard should have known about his potential appointment in the first place, and been able to veto it. His appointment meant that something had gone badly wrong in the PM’s office. That something was the departure of Howard’s Chief of Staff Arthur Sinodinos.

Pat McGorry is another Australian of the Year who has turned into a problem for the governing party. News.com.au reports this morning:

AUSTRALIAN of the Year and mental health advocate Pat McGorry says he is “devastated” by the detail of Julia Gillard’s mental health policy announced today.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to inject nearly $280 million into mental health and suicide prevention services has been slammed by experts who say the issue has been airbrushed over yet again.

Professor McGorry told The Australian he was “devastated” with today’s announcement and believed Ms Gillard  was continuing to show “a lack of leadership”.

Rudd and his office should have realised he was going to be a problem for them too.

I’m not saying that McGorry is a bad Australian of the Year, just that in terms of political pragmatism a vigilant politically aware government would have found someone equally as worthy but much more reticent.

Seems that no matter how hard PM Gillard tries to run from the record of the Rudd government it just keeps nipping at her heels and barking at her. And if it doesn’t bark at her, it seems to bark to Laurie Oakes.

Posted by Graham at 9:48 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. We who know and care about the severely mentally ill (SMI), those suffering schizophrenia, bipolar 1 disorder, severe clinical depression,incurable, biological diseases with a global suicide rate of 10-13%,are very proud of Pat McGorry and his Cassandra non-reticence. It is what is necessary. No person could be equally as worthy AND “much more reticent” about the conditions in which the SMI struggle to survive. But perhaps most Australians would rather not know of their dire lives.

    1…SMI sufferers number some 600,000.
    2…the Mental Health Council of Australia (2009) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS,2008) note that 65% do NOT receive specialist health treatment or hospital admission when crises occur.
    3…none (except some 10% who are private patients) has the frequent and lengthy psychotherapy necessary to enable each person to reach his/her potential.
    4…in Victoria some 14,000 SMI are homeless, as are perhaps 50,000 nation-wide.
    5…a majority of our indigenous people and all our SMI have a life expectancy 25 years less, one third of life less, than other Australians.
    6…In every state except (wisely) South Australia,
    deinstitutionalization was done backwards. Step 2, the destruction of mental rehabilitation hospitals (all that valuable land!) was done first and step 2, the provision of individual and community housing has never even approached being more than a small proportion of what is needed. Hence, so many SMI are homeless, or are
    re-institutionalized into male and female prisons, streets, graves and urns. Look at the peak suicide rate in the later 1990s after this change.
    7…all state suicide rates are inaccurate (ABS, 2005, Professor John Mendoza,9/11/2009), and these are always under-estimations. No other health service operates without a benchmark death rate as a sign of good and improving clinical care; this would be unethical. There is no accurate death rate benchmark for the seriously mentally ill. Who cares?
    8…Professor Kulkarni recently noted the lack of clinical research relevant to mental health. A ten year research project of nearly 2000 suicide deaths in Victoria was “shelved” and final results regarding clinical treatment never known. Indeed, it was reported by the Victorian Department of Human Services that”most
    suicide strategies, including Victoria’s, have not been determined by a solid evidence base and rely largely on assumed efficacy, with little or no research.” (2006)
    ‘Assumed efficacy’ means ‘anecdotal evidence’. Is this the way to run a major health service in a rich, developed nation?
    We cannot shout loudly enough about such shameful discrimination! And we don’t shout for millions; as Pat and John Mendoza said last night on SBS, we shout for billions; the billions withheld from the seriously mentally ill for the last 20 years, perhaps for nearly a century. The abstract of research, published January,2010, concerning mentally ill death rates, 1916-2004, stated “There are no gains.”
    For the mentally ill, are there ever to be any gains?

    Comment by Caroline Storm — July 28, 2010 @ 3:33 am

  2. Thanks for that Caroline. I wasn’t taking a shot at Patrick McGrory’s cause, just looking at how governments normally manage things.

    Comment by Graham — July 28, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  3. I know that Graham. Was just trying to make it clear that reticence here is bad, shouting and generally being difficult is good. Sorry it was so long, but I advertise the cause when ever, where ever I can. Too many die or disintegrate when they could have led fairly productive lives. So much vulnerability, neglect, cruelty. When it’s forced upon our leaders it will move from benign to malign neglect.
    There’s not much left, except go to the UN, for breach of Convention for Disabled that Australia has signed.

    Comment by Caroline Storm — July 28, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  4. Governments should welcome challenge, and acknowledge people who can help build support for less recognised causes. So I don’t see that as a negative, with with Flannery or McGorry.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — July 30, 2010 @ 5:49 am

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