aged care

The corporate media is giving the federal government’s latest budget a big thumbs up, despite its brazen hand-outs for billionaires and big corporations, writes Alex Bainbridge.

Overwhelmed nurses, carers, elderly residents and their families have exposed that a root cause of so much of the neglect in private centres is understaffing. Jim McIlroy reports.

Any hopes raised by former prime minister Paul Keating's appearance at the royal commission into aged care were dashed by his advocacy of a user-pays system, writes Suzanne James

The tragedy for the coronavirus victims in aged care could have been avoided, or greatly reduced, if authorities had implemented early calls for radical reforms to the very sick health system, writes George Zangalis.

Moreland councillor Sue Bolton has added her voice to calls for safe work conditions for aged care workers as the pandemic hits the most vulnerable. Chloe DS and Darren Saffin report.

Aged care home Newmarch House has become the new epicentre of COVID-19 in New South Wales. Jim McIlroy reports how privatisation and deregulation of aged care has contributed to the neglect.

In October last year, the federal government finally established a royal commission into aged care, after a Senate inquiry received numerous complaints among its 5000 submissions. The deep-seated problems included poor standards of care, physical assaults and extremely challenging working conditions.

The disastrous results of privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation in the aged care sector have been further exposed in the commission’s report. The aged care system, along with health care in general, should instead be placed under public ownership and control, and made accessible to the whole community.

The disaster at the Earle Haven Retirement Village is a particularly shocking example of how already vulnerable people are treated in a system geared to making money, writes Michael McDonald.

Prominent Aboriginal elder Wayne Wharton is making a tilt for the senate in Queensland this election, campaigning on issues such as justice for Aboriginal people, justice reinvestment and an improved aged care system.

Wharton told Green Left Weekly: “The systems that we’ve had for the last 230 years is broken, they’re useless.”

These include the legal system which, he says, is based on a “feudal system of punishment” instead of rehabilitation, and the two-party system, in which the big parties have become dominated by “top-end-of-town corruption”.

The aged care sector should be publicly run, adequately funded and with a high standard of living, says the Victorian Socialists. The current problem is not market failure. The problem is the market itself.

About 500 members of the Health Services Union (HSU), United Voice, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and other unions gathered in Hyde Park on April 19 to "Rally for Respect: Time to Care for Aged Care."

Speakers represented the various health sector unions, as well as UnionsNSW, and Labor federal and state politicians.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government has cut billions of dollars from the aged care sector. This has had an enormous impact on the lives of older Australians in care, their families and those who care for them.

NSW Coalition MPs voted down a bill, 35 to 45, on May 11, that mandated registered nurses in residential aged care facilities. Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, as well as Independents Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper supported the bill.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s Brett Holmes said the government’s decision was “shameful” because not having skilled nurses in nursing homes would mean that the quality of care provided to some of the state’s most vulnerable would deteriorate.

Australia's age pension system is under attack from the federal government and right-wing, neoliberal forces. The whole community, current and future retirees, needs to mobilise to defend and extend the age pension system and change the superannuation system to more adequately meet the needs of working people. The age pension in Australia dates back to 1909. It was established as a non-contributory scheme, largely as a result of the demands of unions and community pressure.
There is a perception in Australia that once people reach a certain age or become unable to care for themselves, the government will take care of them no matter their social or financial circumstances. In Australia, the responsibility for funding and regulating residential aged care belongs to the Commonwealth. It is the federal government that sets the amount and distribution of residential aged-care funding across Australia.
Anyone with even superficial experience with how aged people are treated would be disgusted and outraged by the standards of most nursing homes, a result of neoliberal policies in Australia. An investigation by ABC TV’s Lateline on July 15 found many elderly people living in aged care facilities are grossly neglected. Advocacy groups have called it “a national human rights emergency”. The issue typically gets mentioned in the media only when a spectacle is involved, like a fire in a nursing home that costs lives.
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