Embattled Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has lost the confidence of his own party and should go, Labor says.
Embattled Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has lost the confidence of his own party and should go, Labor says.

Under-fire aged care minister sidelined over deaths

Pressure is mounting on Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck as his handling of the coronavirus crisis is increasingly put under the microscope.

Labor ramped up its attack on Tuesday against Mr Colbeck, who it says was "cut out" of a key decision-making authority in his own portfolio.

Opposition aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the decision to set up new aged care emergency response operations centres would instead rest with Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck is under fire for his handling of the aged care coronavirus crisis. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck is under fire for his handling of the aged care coronavirus crisis. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

 

"The Minister for Aged Care is not across basic details, he's not in Cabinet and now he's been cut out of the decision-making process," she said.

"If Scott Morrison is no longer confident his Minister for Aged Care can do the job, then he should sack him."

But Mr Colbeck rejected the claims saying advice from the expert medical panel, which reports to Mr Hunt, will inform the running of the operation centres.

"Matters related to Cabinet are Cabinet in confidence, however the Minister continues to brief members of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister on aged care on a daily basis," a spokesman said.

"Labor's hypocrisy knows no bounds and they have clearly not listened to the facts."

Senator Colbeck was under renewed attack in the Senate on Tuesday, where he said: "I was well aware of all the decisions made by respect to the formation of a Recovery Center".

In Question Time, several Labor MPs grilled the government's handling of coronavirus at aged care facilities in their electorates.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese asked Mr Morrison: "Why is this Minister still there?"

But Mr Morrison said the processes were being handled as they "always are".

"The Minister for Aged Care, I speak to Mr Speaker, every single day," Mr Morrison said.

"He is part of the hook up with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Health Minister and myself, in particular, reviewing the aged care issues on a daily basis."

Senator Colbeck on Monday apologised to the Upper House for not knowing the aged care death toll when asked during an inquiry last week.

Mr Morrison also apologised to the residents and families of those affected in aged care facilities in Question Time on Monday.

Originally published as 'Sack him': Under-fire Minister sidelined


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