Doctors across Queensland vote to reject contracts

12 Feb 2014

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that opposition to the Queensland Government’s proposed individual contracts for Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) is spreading across the State and growing stronger.

Dr Hambleton last night addressed a meeting of Gold Coast Hospital doctors and heard how the contract dispute was placing extraordinary stress and pressure on doctors and their families.

“There is a very human element to this dispute,” Dr Hambleton said.

“These hardworking doctors work around the clock to save lives and repair bodies in hospitals across the State every day, but this dedication to their craft and the people of Queensland is being totally ignored as the Government moves to take away their workplace rights and conditions.

“This hard-hitting approach by the Government is taking its toll on the professional and personal lives of these doctors.

“They have partners, kids, household expenses and mortgages like the rest of the community.

“Their livelihoods are being threatened. They deserve respect and job security. Instead, the Government is treating them with disdain.

“The Government must reopen negotiations in good faith to produce fair and balanced work arrangements for people who provide services that are needed and cherished by the people of Queensland.

“There have been hospital meetings across Queensland over recent weeks and the message from each is the same - doctors feel like they are being forced to sign draconian individual contracts that strip basic employee rights.

“The people of Queensland – in the cities, the suburbs, regional centres, and country towns – want a strong public hospital system. They know that doctors and other hardworking health professionals are the backbone of the system.

“They want the confidence and security that these doctors will be there to help them when they or a family member are sick or injured.

“The Government must end its ‘take it or leave it’ approach and immediately re-open contract negotiations.”

The unfair employment contracts have been rejected by doctors at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Princess Alexandria Hospital, Ipswich, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Nambour, Prince Charles Hospital, and Gold Coast, with more to follow.

The Federal AMA, AMA Queensland, the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF), and ASMOF Queensland are working together to deliver a positive outcome for Queensland’s doctors.

These organisations are pushing for Queensland Health to provide fair and balanced working conditions by addressing several outstanding concerns, including:

• The absence of a binding arbitration process for dispute resolution;
• Arbitrary dismissal;
• The absence of a no disadvantage clause;
• Enforced shift work; and
• Tier 3 KPIs being tied to income.

You can watch an interview of Dr Hambleton talking about the Queensland contracts on AMA TV at

12 February 2014

CONTACT: John Flannery  02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
 Kirsty Waterford  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

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