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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 6 October 2007
Minister Reba needs help, at risk of self harm (?), Iemma is responsible
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: Saturday Sydney Telegraph 6th October 2007 at page 91 offline by the looks except world press display subscriber service


It would be presumptuous to pry into Ms Meagher's private life, but sometimes it takes impertinence to help someone in real trouble i.e. to intervene. She is so fragile its a cruel situation and she needs support, including help to stand aside if that's what it takes. In our value system a minister's portfolio responsibilities should not include ritual humiliation in public as a result of a medical condition.

[And we notice the relatively judicious and compassionate approach to Reba Meagher's career prospects pp 88-89 in the Sunday Telegraph 7 Oct 07, while correctly demanding performance in a key role.]

Anyone who saw Stateline last Friday with any real life experience, or survivor of trauma, knows the Minister is in serious trouble. We were on notice from Andrew Clennell's dramatic language earlier in the week at the SMH referring to her comprehensively folding at a press conference. We couldn't bare to watch she was so shaky. If Dempster was not such a decent professional it could have been an execution, nor did Dempster appear to withhold the steel under the velvent glove on issues of merit at say Royal North Shore hospital.


The feature story by Simon Benson, no fool, in today's Telegraph is also instructive. 5 weeks holiday as a senior minister is also indicative.

Iemma must get involved here and help Reba Meagher. If I could talk to Reba Meagher I would tell her some compassionate things:

1. a career in politics is not the main purpose of life. Life is the main purpose of life. If a divorce has knocked you down and left you shattered then hooray welcome to the family of humanity. It's okay. It's normal. You will have to stop and recover. Really. You can't hold down a super hard job like Health Minister in NSW in what everyone calls the bear pit of Australian politics and deal with a shattering experience at the same time.

2. its just the breaks. No one's fault. Life is not simple, never was. Your boss - Premier Iemma, Kaiser in the Premier's Office, whoever - they are responsible for protecting you and all ministers psychologically and emotionally in the workplace when you can't for whatever reason protect yourself. They must help you as a professional duty to stand aside to recover.

3. Everyone in professional politics can see you are way too fragile at that level. This watcher is worried for the minister's well being. We thought earlier in the week Reba were getting an attack of the Lathams 'out of love with the ALP' syndrome. Or maybe it's the domestic home front. Geof Gallup tell her she has to save herself.

39 or 29 or 19, when you cop an emotional haymaker you just have to take time out. Like quit your job, go fishing, whatever. You owe it to yourself, you owe it the job of Health Minister and the people of NSW, but mostly you owe it to yourself so you can start work on the next chapter of a rich and fulfilling life.

Remember while your down there at the bottom , as you survive and gradually rebuild you will be just that more able and effective. But it will take time - a year maybe more.

Listen to me Reba as if you would read this news blog, you are at risk. It's okay to let go. So you can start remaking your life.

4. Emotional toughness and well being has nothing to do with intelligence or innate talent. You might be a political genius but it's no use if you are emotionally broken beyond repair - the talent will just be squandered. That toughness has to be developed through hard troubling experience. It's painful because there is no way around really living that trouble. That's life for real.

There is light in the tunnel Minister but you have to change your life, that's the point. Good luck.

Posted by editor at 4:58 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007 11:22 AM NZT

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