Thursday 07 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (11:54): If you save one life you are a hero, if you save 100 lives then you are a nurse, as the saying goes. I also rise today to commend this motion to the house which recognises International Nurses Day, which is celebrated annually on 12 May, and which acknowledges this year's theme, Nurses: a Force For Change: Care Effective, Cost Effective, and congratulates all South Australian nurses on their dedication, professionalism and the pivotal role they play in the advancement of the health of all South Australians.

My sister, Therese, is a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Like many members in the chamber who have members of their families who are nurses, I too can share in some of the tales and the experiences and the empathy that is required by nurses in doing the fantastic job they do in the community every single day, as well as the compassion they need to deliver in their jobs and their professionalism. The job they do is not always rosy, as has been alluded to, and I have heard that firsthand from my sister. Nurses are wonderful people and we could not do without their great work in our community.

There has been a little bit of political talk here, but I will try to keep it apolitical. One thing I will ask is that with Transforming Health, which the government is putting in place, the government considers the submissions that nurses have made. We are kidding ourselves if we think that everyone is content out there in the nursing industry because they are not. There are nurses who are not happy with the fact that they are being forced to work longer hours than they have in the past.

Nurses' conditions in Australia are not the best that they can be. We need to continually strive to make sure that nurses have the best conditions reasonably possible to do the fantastic work they do. I encourage and implore the government in its Transforming Health strategy to take that into consideration and make sure that nurses get what they deserve because they play such a fundamental role in our society.

I also want to pay tribute to some of the areas in my own electorate of Hartley that employ nurses. The North Eastern Community Hospital in Campbelltown is a wonderful little hospital that does fantastic work in the community and provides a fundamental service. Of course, we need to accept that the state government cannot absorb the whole strain on the health system; it needs the public system and the private system to work hand in hand with each other where they can. It is the same with education: we would be silly to think that the state could absorb the whole thing.

It is important that we also acknowledge the private health providers, and I have one in my electorate of Hartley. They play a fantastic role in the community, and I really do pay tribute to the great work they do, as well. Do not forget that there are also many retirement villages and nursing homes in our electorates that have on-call nurses and sometimes permanent nursing staff, and I also acknowledge the wonderful work they do. It is fantastic to see the care, the professionalism, the empathy and the compassion of the nurses in my electorate in those roles.

I was told that 12 May was Florence Nightingale's birthday, and I think that is where this date comes from. We should absolutely acknowledge the wonderful work she did and pay tribute to her on this special day. I understand that the Australian Nurse of the Year is also announced at a ceremony at one of the state's capital cities each year. I also understand that each of the Australian states and territories conduct various nursing ceremonies, as the member for Elder drew to our attention.

All in all, it is an absolute pleasure to see so many nurses here in the gallery today. I applaud the work they do and congratulate them on their wonderful efforts, and I commend this motion to the house today.