Open hearing on Oakden

The harrowing and courageous testimony of the family members of former Oakden patients to a Senate Committee yesterday highlights why ICAC hearings into the operation of the disgraced facility should be conducted in public.

“Allowing the families of Oakden patients to give evidence publicly helps the South Australian community as a whole to gain a better understanding of how the State’s health system let down some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“The families repeatedly ran into a brick wall of government indifference when they raised concerns about the treatment of their loved ones.

“The families’ testimony was confronting - it highlights the importance of hearing evidence from the politicians, senior bureaucrats and health professionals at the centre of this scandal.

“Rather than support openness and transparency, the Weatherill Government blocked legislation that would have provided the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption with the power to hold public hearings into the Oakden scandal.

“In doing so the Weatherill Labor Government ignored the recommendations of the ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander, the pleas of the families of abused patients and the wishes of the wider South Australian community.

“Yet again the Weatherill Labor Government has shown that it is deaf to the voice of victims.

“The Government insisted that victims of the chemotherapy dosing bungle pursued legal process when they sought compensation for their mistreatment by the South Australian health system.

“Only when the appalling behavior of the Weatherill Government was highlighted by the testimony of victims before a Legislative Council Committee did the Premier intervene to arrange for an offer of compensation.

“Transparency is essential for real accountability”.