King’s donation to Skinner questioned

Health Minister Jillian Skinner reads Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District board chairman Professor Denis King’s letter in the NSW Legislative Assembly on Thursday.Health Minister Jillian Skinner has dodged questions in the NSW Parliament about a $3000 donation she received fromIllawarra Shoalhavenhealth district boardchairmanDenis King.

The 2014 donation surfacedin the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, amid Labor questioning about the Baird government’s planned part-privatisation of Shellharbour Hospital.

Ms Skinner wasasked by Opposition Leader Luke Foley if she would “listen to the27 doctors across the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, who’ve written an open letter published today [Thursday] inthe Illawarra Mercury,stating their opposition to your plan to privatise services at Shellharbour Hospital”.

As she got to her feet to respond, theminister was handed adocument.

“It happens to be a letter to the editor, written to the editor of the Illawarra Mercury, written by Clinical Professor Denis King, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local HealthDistrict boardchair,” Ms Skinner told the Parliament.

“Where he answers every single one of those concerns raised by the doctors. I’m am very pleased to have the opportunity to read some of this letter onto the record.”

Ms Skinner read part of the letter aloud in her allocated five minutes and didn’t respondpersonally to the question. Dissatisfied with the response, Mr Foley questioned the health minister further a few minutes later.

“I refer to your answer to my earlier question, where you quoted Denis King in defence of your hospital privatisation plan. Would that be the same Denis King who personally donated $3000 to your election campaign?” he asked.

Mr Foley was referring to adisclosure of political donations for the year ending June 30, 2014.

The disclosure – which is publicly available on the NSW Electoral Commission website – listed Professor King as a major political donor and outlined he provided a monetary gift of $3000 to “Jillian Skinner” on June 6, 2014.

Ms Skinner told the Parliament that Professor King was “engaged by the Labor government when they were in office”.

The minister went on to quote Mr Foley’s budget reply speech from 2015, in whichMs Skinner said the Opposition Leader stated: “I do not believe that public is always good and private is always bad. For me, what matters is what works”.

Ms Skinner only used half of her allocated five-minute response time. Her question-dodging riled Labor MPs.

– Health chief responds to 27 doctors

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