M E D I C U S
J U N E 2 0 1 7
held in May would have
been the ideal occasion
for AMA (WA) President
Dr Andrew Miller to count
his accomplishments over
the past year and detail
his plan of action for the
coming 12 months. Instead
Dr Miller delivered a very
personal yet inspiring
farewell speech, laced
with his trademark wry
Dr Miller has in a previous edition of
explained his reason for leaving
the position after just one year – his
“family is facing a health challenge and
facing that together comes first”.
He reminded the gathering, in particular
the bureaucrats in the audience, that
medical science is one of the great
successes and hopes of humankind and
“It is an investment, not a cost, and
it forms the basis on which we are a
community rather than an economy.”
From the outset of his presidency,
Dr Miller has focused on diversity in WA
Health – something which he revisited in
his speech to the audience.
“It wasn’t too long ago when people
thought diversity was just a politically
correct nonsense. But now it is just the
way we think about things.”
He also took a moment to remember
his mentor, Senior Anaesthetist Lynley
Hewett who passed away the day
before, recounting the story of why
Lynley – and some of her colleagues –
were shining examples of the fight for
diversity in WA Health.
“Lyn started her career as a Consultant
in Fremantle Hospital in the 70s and
after six months, her pay suddenly
stopped. Upon checking with the
administration, she was informed the
wage had been stopped as they had
overpaid her during the past six months.
The reason? They didn’t realise, when
looking at her name, that she was a
Dr Miller went to tell how the other
Anaesthetists – all men – refused
to return to the theatres until the
administration agreed to pay her equal
wages for equal work.
“One of the reasons why I am so proud
of my late father is that he was one of
the agitators who refused to return to
work until the women were paid the
same as men.
“We are lucky today that we stand on
the shoulders of people who got paid
a lot less than we do, who worked in far
worse conditions than we do, and with a
lot less than we have.
“We are all very lucky to
be continuing our work.
“But I want to continue
to agitate, aggravate,
irritate, do whatever it
takes to get the right
outcomes for our
patients, our colleagues
and the community,”
Dr Miller said.
The other speeches that
evening were delivered
by Minister for Health
the Hon Roger Cook
who assured all that health was high on
the State Government’s agenda.
“We want to look beyond the bricks
and mortar of our health system and
make changes that will continue to drive
world-class healthcare,” Mr Cook said,
adding his intention to continue the
culture of working with the AMA.
AMA Federal President Dr Michael
Gannon also took to the dais to reiterate
the absolute independence of the AMA.
“We cannot be bought. So individual
doctors are fearless in their advocacy
for patients and the AMA collectively is
fearless in its advocacy,” Dr Gannon said.
Listening on at the State Reception
Centre at Fraser’s were some well-
known faces in state politics, health and
medical education including Dr Ruth
Shean, Director General, Department of
Training and Workforce Development
who was retiring the very next day; the
Hon. Lisa Harvey MLA, Deputy Leader
of the Opposition; the Hon. Bill Marmion
MLA, Shadow Minister for Health and
Mental Health; and Dr David Russell-
Weisz, Director General of WA Health.
F E A T U R E
Minister for Health Roger Cook flanked by AMA Federal
President Dr Michael Gannon and State President Dr Andrew Miller.
AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller reminded friends and colleagues at
a recent function of the debt we owe to those who came before us