CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
As New South Wales finally opens up, with cases numbers dropping by the day, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is finally able to retreat from the spotlight to begin doing as very little as is usually expected of a state cabinet MP.
As a Northern Beaches baby boomer who has been working in Parliament House since 1991, Brad Hazzard never really envisioned a time in his career where he would have to host 100 press conferences back-to-back.
After pinballing around the NSW Liberal Party cabinet in a number of Ministerial positions that would change each time a disgraced Premier resigned, Hazzard accepted the role of Health Minister without giving it much thought back in 2017 during the Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s post-Baird reshuffle.
However, with the outbreak of the virus in early 2020, the 70-year-old has had to work harder than most career public servants would ever want to.
Starting with the Ruby Princess disaster in March last year, Brad Hazzard became very aware that a state Health Minister might actually become a household name during a global pandemic.
Especially when the Federal government washes their hands of the fact that a cruise ship full of infected old codgers had disembarked in the centre of the nation’s biggest city at the height of lockdown restrictions.
By August, the total number of of infections linked to the cruise ship was estimated at no fewer than 900. A cluster of cases in New Zealand was also linked to the Ruby Princess.
Since then, he’s had to explain every little social distancing measure to NSW’s 8.1 million residents, and worn the wrath of heartbroken families who have all missed out on weddings, funerals and graduations.
Prior to this outbreak, the only time the NSW Health Minister would make the headlines was when he betrayed the happy clappers in his party by declaring his controversial opinion that women should be able to take control of their own reproductive health.
Other than that, his job has mostly centred around cutting ribbons at new hospitals and negotiating wage disputes with the nurses union.
Today, with the pandemic now looking like it will remain in the rear-view of the Perrottet government, it looks like Hazzard will never have to front another camera again.
Unless, of course, some coked up surgeon goes mad and starts Dr Deathing his patients in an Eastern Suburbs private practice.
“Ahhhh” says Hazzard this morning, as he pours himself a glass of scotch at 9:30 am.
“It’s good to have some peace and quiet”
“… Maybe a bit too much peace and quiet”
“Where’s that nurses union at?”