Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley has told me he will not seek re-election later this year. He will also step down from Cabinet.
From being a senior leader in the trade union movement organising on behalf of some of the lowest-paid workers, to being Victoria’s first Equality Minister, nobody has fought harder than Martin to give a voice to those who needed it most.
Those who, for too long, have been powerless, unsafe, persecuted.
We often say that in Victoria, equality is not negotiable. And that’s in no small part thanks to the community ally Victorians have had in Martin Foley.
Martin has never been afraid to face difficult issues, and make difficult decisions, when he knew it was the right thing to do – and when he knew it would help people.
Without Martin, there would have been no Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
From the very beginning, he had a vision of a mental health system that gave Victorians the care they need, when they need it, close to home.
And he knew that if we were going to build that system from the ground up, we needed to listen to the lived experience of Victorians.
As Minister for Mental Health, Martin was also instrumental in the establishment of Victoria’s first medically supervised injecting room.
As Disability Minister, he drove Victoria’s contribution to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Importantly, he also drove the Federal Government to do a better job of delivering it – because people’s lives depended on it.
Martin stepped up to do one of the most difficult jobs in a global pandemic. His professionalism, and his calm, deliberate direction saw Victoria through the worst of it.
His leadership during COVID-19 saved lives. He never shied away from doing what needed to be done to keep Victorians safe, to keep our health system going and to protect our nurses, doctors, paramedics and allied health professionals.
He is respected by dedicated healthcare workers right across Victoria – and I can think of no greater compliment for a Health Minister.
I’ve known Martin for close to 30 years – he’s been a valued colleague and a trusted friend.
On behalf of our Government, I thank Martin for everything he’s done for the Victorians who needed it most, and everything he did for Victorians when they needed it most.
I wish him, Sharon and their family all the best for the years ahead.
Reviewed 24 June 2022