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The ideal health minister
  1. J Dwyer
  1. Health Services Management, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia and Board Chair, Australian Resource Centre for Hospital Innovations
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor J Dwyer;

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Has an ability to reinvent themselves

In November 2001, Dr Michael Wooldridge, Australia’s health minister of nearly six years, retired from politics at the age of 45. In retiring early, Dr Wooldridge fulfilled his own longstanding prediction that the health portfolio would be his political graveyard, and in this he shared the fate of most Australian health ministers over the past 30 years. It seems that, in Australia, there is little chance of life in politics after health and the ideal health minister needs the capacity for a second or third career as well as the ability to live with political risk.

Yet the health portfolio is a senior cabinet position, and health policy is a matter …

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