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Are YOU Really Arguing We Can’t Feed and Care for Our Grandparents?

On Saturday 2 April 2022, the Federal Member for Whitlam, Mr Stephen Jones MP, posed this question to the Prime Minister Mr Morrison on social media:

“Does Scott Morrison really want to go to this election arguing that we can’t afford to feed and care for our grandparents?”

It is a pertinent question for Mr Jones to put to the Prime Minister, because the only response we have heard from the Federal Government regarding the Labor Party’s Aged Care policy initiative has been the feeble, indeed risible, response of “we can’t afford it”, a matter which I shall subsequently address herein. May I also say at the outset of this article, my late mother feared and fought against the whole notion of being placed in an aged care facility, even though her physical needs required it, undoubtedly because of the news reports about the disgraceful way the successive Liberal Federal Governments had treated the sector for the past 9 years. My mum died in her own home, but prior to her passing she told me and my two brothers she did not ever want to be placed in aged care. These are fears which are consistently reported around the country about this much neglected sector.

I will return to Labor’s Aged Care policy initiative in a moment, as the Morrison Government’s whimper of affordability must be called out so that we examine their shocking economic management of this country. Mr Stephen Koukoulas, an esteemed economic intellect in this country has concurred with Labor’s assessment of the Morrison Government’s budget mismanagement, an assessment which opines under the Morrison Government Australia will spend more in debt interest than it does to fund the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Mr Koukoulas also agrees with Labor’s further assessment that under the Morrison Government’s mismanagement of the budget we will soon be spending more on interest than we spend on Medicare.

Take some time to fully comprehend the gravity of this economic assessment; remember, the Morrison Government were elected in 2019 on the back of the astonishing promise “Back in Black”, when by 2019 the successive Liberal governments since 2014 had incurred 100% more national debt (yes doubled it) than any other government in our by then 118 years of federation. The highly respected economics, business and political commentator, Michael Pascoe, provided a sobering opinion for all Australians to consider regarding the Morrison’s Government’s mishandling of the budget in his article published in The New Daily on 31 March 2022 in which he said:

“What’s tucked away in a single overlooked chart is the Treasury’s forecast that our economic recovery, the one supposedly “leading the world”, hits the wall next year.”

Mr Pascoe considers all that Mr Frydenberg’s budget (one which he and many other commentators remark to be a short-sighted political ploy to win votes) has done is to encourage the Reserve Bank of Australia to start lifting interest rates sooner rather than later, that is it’s a cash splash toxic fuel poured over an already run-away fire of an inflation problem. A link to Mr Pascoe’s article is posted here below for you to consider, as he also highlights the Morrison Government’s other waste of funds and economic failures.

So, the Morrison Government’s feeble attack on Labor’s Aged Care policy when considered in light of the matters raised herein by Mr Koukoulas and Mr Pascoe, in addition to us also considering the Federal Government’s waste of our money in the sum of $5.5Billion on the French nuclear submarine deal, the $20Billion waste of Jobkeeper payments to undeserving companies and of course, the great unanswered question as to how they doubled the debt before the 2019 Federal Election, are just some of the numerous examples of economic mismanagement of our money by the Morrison Government.

Most disturbingly, there is the mismanagement of the aged care sector itself which includes the approximate 1,500 deaths in this sector arising from the Morrison Government’s poor handling of the Covid-19 crisis in that sector. Indeed, on 28 February 2022 HelloCare journalist Amy Henderson reported a recent Aged Care Collaboration (‘ACC’) survey has uncovered widespread uncertainty among two-thirds of aged care providers towards the Morrison Government’s reform process as there is minimal transparency (that is a common complaint about the Federal Government), inadequate consultation and vague commitments being at the height of their frustration. The ACC, which represents major providers of aged care, has also been particularly critical of the Morrison Government’s lack of commitment to lift the pay for aged care workers.

In general, the aged care sector has criticised the Morrison Government’s response to the aged care crisis as anaemic: too little, too slow and too late (particularly in relation to Covid).The list of other failures of poor governance and economic mismanagement by the Morrison Government are too far and wide for me to address each item now, and of course we are now in the unfortunate position of having the world focus on an Australian Prime Minister in Mr Morrison who has some serious questions being asked about his character flaws, namely the reports about his alleged racism (he hasn’t addressed why Mr Chapman would sign a statutory declaration corroborating Mr Towke’s version of events, and Mr Baird’s comment today “I didn’t hear anything” does not impugn Mr Chapman’s statutory declaration and is only consistent with Mr Baird being a close friend of Mr Morrison and therefore lacking in objectivity), bullying (Mr Morrison has not explained Senator Hanson’s complaint) and seemingly pathological propensity to continuously lie (once again, I quote President Macron, “I don’t think, I know”, as well as Mr Morrison denying he used the racist term ‘Shanghai Sam’ only for the media evidence, and his own Twitter account, to prove otherwise).

Now we shall return to the question Mr Jones MP posed to the Prime Minister two days ago and it is a question I pose to you regarding our aged care sector. Labor’s Aged Care policy initiative focusses on treating older Australians with the respect they deserve. Older Australians helped build this country by working hard, paying their taxes, and raising their families. An Albanese Labor Government will take practical measures to ensure older Australians receive the aged care they deserve by:

  1. Every aged care facility being required to have a registered, qualified nurse on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  2. Raising the standard of aged care across the board by ensuring there are carers, who have more time to care, and Labor ensure proper care being provided by mandating every Australian living in aged care receives an average of 215 minutes of care per day, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
  3. Backing a pay rise for aged care workers by supporting workers’ calls for better pay at the Fair Work Commission.
  4. Ensuring there is better food for residents of aged care facilities, which includes Labor working with the sector to develop and implement mandatory nutrition standards for aged care homes to ensure every resident gets good food.
  5. Making residential providers report, in public and in detail, what they are spending money on, including providing to the Aged Care Safety Commissioner new powers to ensure there is accountability and integrity.

Ms Amanda Copp, the Political Reporter for National Radio News, tweeted on 3 April 2022 the clear problem in the aged care sector is worker shortages, as pay and conditions need to improve if they want people to work there. Labor’s Aged Care policy initiative will place security, dignity, quality, and humanity back into aged care, including attracting more people to work in the sector. Is that too much for a wealthy country to ask for? The Morrison Government in the wake of their misuse of our funds and budget mismanagement, have had the temerity to pose the question of affordability of Labor’s Aged Care policy, which, amongst all of Labor’s other policies, has been fully costed at $2.5Billion (less than half of the ridiculous Hells Gate Dam announcement Mr Morrison made in North Queensland and less than half of the contractual damages which WE will have to pay for the French submarine contract being broken). Perhaps the best words on the question of funding are the words Mr Albanese spoke on 3 April 2022 when he was being interviewed by Mr Chris Uhlmann of Nine News, who in response to a question about unfunded costs said:

“That is there because of wages of whoever is in government, and the Prime Minister had to concede that on Friday. The question is this, why is it this Prime Minister can’t say that aged care workers deserve a wage increase?”

Mr Albanese’s question, and Mr Jones’ question as well, are fairly put to the Prime Minister, and we as a population, which has benefited from the rewards of the hard work people in aged care previously gave to us, need to ask ourselves where our moral and ethical compass is pointing to regarding the aged care sector. The aged care sector is in crisis under the Morrison Government. Labor’s Aged Care policy will lead our aged population out of crisis to the care and dignity they deserve. Costs become an irrelevant question when your moral compass points in the direction of proper and dignified treatment of our aged population in aged care.

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19 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Introduce a levy like the Medicare one, in fact put them together nto an UNTOUCHABLE fund that deals ONLY with health and Aged Care. How bloody dare they talk about not being able to afford it !!!!!! We can’t afford them !! Theirs are the first areas or bloated expense that should be slashed. Let them try and fit paying for all their living expenses, travel, clothes, medicine etc out of the excessive salaries WITHOUT any of the “allowances” – tax free – that currently bloat their bank accounts, whilst our frail and aged suffer and die from NEGLECT.

    Labor has made a start but it can’t stop there.

    VOTE LABOR

  2. Jack Cade

    As Laura Tingle pointed out on The Insiders, this country can find a shedload of money to buy weapons and employ more personnel to fight America’s wars, but not to ease the closing years of our elderly. And the electorate seems quite prepared to play Monica Lewinsky to Uncle Sam.
    Furthermore, it’s not only the Coalition that is happy to crouch under the desk…

  3. Harry Lime

    Our boy, Master Morrison, doesn’t give a fuck how much public money he has to pilfer,how many people go homeless,how MANY OF THE POPULATION HAVE TO DIE OF NEGLECT,because, as he likes to remind us.HE IS THE PRIME MINISTER,which ,by his actions and utterances, apparently makes him supreme ruler,never to be questioned.This towering arsehole, along with his sycophantic fellow travelers need to be crushed out of existence if this country can have any hope of being a truly responsible global citizen.If that means nationalising any number of corporate global thieves..bring it on.Albo can fiddle at the edges,but until somebody gets serious, we are only postponing the inevitable.

  4. Phil Pryor

    Talk sense and decency to Morrison, the vacant vacuuminous vulture? You’d be better off talking to a caked cow’s cloacal cavity and hope for intellectual sense and service. Morrison is a concealed or controlled psycho sick sausage of simmering shittiness, but, propped up by a huge apparatus of media maggots, profiteering retail punters, financial filth, developer deviates, advertising anuses, lobbying liars and louts, political parasites…

  5. Carol Taylor

    The thing about Aged Care is that wealth does not ensure quality, the wealthy and the less well to do end up eating the same slops for dinner. This compares with private health insurance where wealth ensures that you’re at the front of the queue. Therefore a warning to people who think that they’re safe from the abusive practices of private age care because they currently own half a dozen investment propertie … this is how you might end your days, slumped in a chair with half a party pie and a slop of mashed pumpkin to call dinner.

  6. New England Cocky

    Sadly Carol Taylor, you have too accurately described the fate of too many Australian voters who suffer in unheard silence wile private aged care facility owners buy expensive yachts and sail Sydney Harbour drinking French Champagne.

    The architect of this social disaster was Little Johnnie Howard back in the late 90s and the corporate carpet-baggers have been quick to seize the opportunity to put their snouts into the public purse.

    This situation is just ANOTHER EXAMPLE of uncaring Liarbral policy aimed to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

    It’s time ….. AGAIN!!!!!

  7. Terence Mills

    Just a reminder – which Spud Dutton refuses to discuss – when it comes to not having money for aged care let’s not forget that the debacle over submarines engineered by Morrison and Dutton is costing us $5.5 Billion to get out of the French contract. A contract that has given us nothing, precisely nothing and they are trying to tell us that AUKUS is an amazing success.

    This economic and defence bungling has set back our national security by ten years at least.

    I know they don’t want to discuss it but this bungle together with the Jobkeeper overspend where they gave $38 Billion to companies who did not suffer a downturn in turnover as required by the scheme rules and which a grinning Frydenberg has refused to take action to recover the money – this is what they call their superior economic management

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-02/38b-in-jobkeeper-went-to-companies-where-turnover-did-not-fall-/100586310

  8. Jack Cade

    For a couple of years I volunteered with the palliative care section of a local hospital – visiting patients in the community and more particularly ‘rest’ homes – and Carol’s description of meals is spot on.

  9. Terry

    As usual KL is on target. The Property Council’s friend in high place, the PM, can’t afford to let go any advantage.
    Michael West exposed the depth of the scam about 2 years ago. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/lendlease-and-blue-care-join-throng-of-large-corporations-cheating-jobkeeper/ The PM’s main agenda isn’t political, it’s financial. Maximizing his profits is his priority #1. He is basically a proxy for the RE industry. People in need of aged care are not his concern.

  10. James Robert LEONARD

    And now the debacle will continue. Our sleazy prime minister has just appointed another bunch of sycophant party hacks to senior positions – and all carefully selected to be able to impede any attempt at cleaning up the mess he has made of the country.

  11. Caz

    JRL this is a worry. If these new appointments impede the reforms Albo is promising, then these committees, boards and tribunals need to be dissolved and we start over with ethical appointments.

  12. Max Gross

    It’s called eugenics

  13. GL

    I just got a One Notion flyer from the letter box from Poorween’s candidate Steve Mav and have prepared the following email to send to him;

    Thank you for the late April Fool’s joke. Sadly, I am unable to use it in the toilet because it’s printed on glossy paper.

  14. Sandra Hey

    My experience working in Residential Aged Care from 2007 until retirement in 2012 started with great respect for the private owner of the facility located on the Gold Coast, the other 4 facilities the family owned were in NSW. The facility was high care in a colonial low set building with 102 beds in 2 wings separated by a large dining room that was also used for weekly festive events etc.,
    There was also a 12 Room low care Hostel type facility adjacent to the high care facility that was managed by the existing staff .

    At that time the staffing consistent of: 2 Full time RN’s day shift one in each wing. Night shift 1 RN to cover both wings. Further staffing levels were EEN’s EN’s and CERT 3 personal care’s. The other level of employment was Full time Chef and kitchen staff, full time House Keeper and staff, 2 full time Diversional Therapist one for each wing. Agency Nursing Staff were engaged to fill any staff shortages to kept the level of care at all time to the residents. 1 Full time Administration Manager, 1 part time admin person. One full time Engineer and part time groundman’s . The facility was managed by a full time Director of Nursing and full time deputy Director of Nursing..

    A General Practitioner would visit one day per week for the full day to access and update medical charts etc., for all residents, also all dietary requirements based on each residents health and circumstances were documented and implemented, oral health was a major concern for many of the older residents. Weekly menus were changed every fortnight to provide variety and interest for the residents. Fire Drill was a frequent event.

    Unexpected visits would occur for audits from federal government agency, usually 2 persons would arrive, only time a heads up of a visit, would be for the big forensic audit.

    All good, until the sudden death of Director of Nursing in 2011. The facility was sold to a couple of young Sydney Entrepreneur’s who thought running a government funded aged care facility a great way to make a quid.

    I lasted 1 year, in that time the quality of care declined, A person with no back ground in Nursing was engaged to Manage the facility, the chef left and was not replaced leaving one of the senior kitchen hands to take over the responsibility. Agency Staff were not engaged any more, when the RN’s retired they were not replaced. House Keeping was scaled down, Diversional Therapist resigned and not replaced. Personal Care staff over whelmed.

    Election of Abbott/Hockey Liberal Coalition Government in 2013 saw Government Agencies in Residential Aged Care slowly being dismantled and out sourced to the private sector.

  15. Pete Petrass

    RE Keitha Granville, you comment ” an UNTOUCHABLE fund that deals ONLY with health and Aged Care”. When I read that I am reminded of ARENA and CEFC and the Future Fund and also NAIF, all funds set up for specific purposes, supposedly also untouchable. Yet this government, this nasty, grubby, corrupt government seems to spend all of its time (in lieu of governing) trying to find ways around the legislation that set up these funds, ways to use that money for anything to do with fossil fuels. Only today I read that for the 3rd time in the past year they are going again for the ARENA and CEFC to fund CCS and blue hydrogen from gas. Then there is their supposed “gas led recovery” or the need to maintain base load capacity for the electricity network.
    I guess the bottom line is nothing is safe from the LNP.

  16. Josephus

    I have seen the food in six old age homes in one city. In each the food was awful in the dementia wards, all sugar , fat and flour, nothing fresh. One day in one home I saw an unannounced delegation of inspectors arrive. They found the non dementia wards food quite good, which it was, if boring and monocultural. I then asked whether they ever visited the dementia ward. They looked surprised; no, never. I suggested they inspect the slop those who can’t complain got to eat. They were debating this as I left.

  17. Bert

    Nationalise all aged care facilities. Get the for profit leaches out and never let them back.

  18. leefe

    GL:

    Steve Mav? That wanker is STILL trying to get on the government gravy train?
    Seriously, he makes Craig Kelly look competent. Poorlean is no longer scraping the bottom of the barrel, she has now begun excavating the floor of the deepest cave in the country.

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