Rally: it’s one of those wonderful words that has many applications.“ … A mass meeting of people making a political protest or showing support for a cause; to recover or cause to recover in health, spirits, or poise; tocome together again in order to continue fighting … ”
Sunday’s protest by health sector workers and supporters was all of these things, and even had a little bit of ‘road rally’ about it, as protestors marched up Auburn Street, then onto Goldsmith and Bourke, to the health service.
And all under the rallying cry: ‘Keep Bourke Street open’.
Thursday’s press statement from the State Government revising recent sector closure decisions did nothing to defuse the anger many in the Goulburn health services and larger community have been feeling for weeks now.
If anything, the statement only served to diffuse the situation; lacking clarity of explanation around some serious questions posed. As Jane Cotter of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Goulburn branch said,”They’re revising the timeline, that’s all they’ve said.”
Sunday’s rally was led by some luminaries from the health sector and unions and Dr Ursula Stephens. But away from those names so frequently mentioned in despatches, up steppedCheryl McGovern. She’s worked in the public health system for more than 16 years, presently in Goulburn Base’s sterilisation department.
“Ihave seen constant changes over that time,” she said, “but always you, the community, has been our focus.”
She checked privatisation’s pulse, saying public health “is not profitable, but it is regulated and answerable”.
“When you place profits ahead of patients, a big rally is just the beginning … Yes, of course our jobs matter, but more important, our right to free, accessible public health is in jeopardy. We have to make our voices heard and ensure the Bourke Street Health Service remains open.”
Or, as organisers so succinctly hashtagged the protest, #weownit. We own it.
Keeping public services public means we are all invested in their performance, not just a fiscal few; and the workers in those public services are working for a good far greater than annual bonuses or career progression.
And, a word to the wise. The State Government: we, the people, we own that, too.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.