By Chief Advocate Ian Henschke
American politician, Donald Rumsfeld, once famously said “There are known knowns … and there are known unknowns.”
In a real sense that’s where we are at this precise moment in Australian politics.
We know Scott Morrison and the coalition won the election and he is Prime Minister.
We know that Anthony Albanese is the leader of the Opposition.
But what about seniors issues? What's on the agenda for National Seniors Australia?
A new National Seniors campaign, Your Concessions, will soon appear on our website so watch out for that.
We will continue to focus on our key strategies of improving health, finances, and home and promote our Fix Pension Poverty campaign.
I discussed these issues and more recently on Sky News Australia's Richo with Graham Richardson.
You can check out the full video below.
We are continuing our fight around pension poverty with our partner the Benevolent Society. We are pushing for this to be a bi partisan and multi partisan issue.
Labor listened to one aspect of the Fix Pension Poverty campaign - $1,000 every two years for dental care for pensioners and low-income seniors with a Commonwealth Health Card.
We will continue to push for the government to also adopt this good policy; as well as take the politics out of the pension, establish an independent tribunal and deal with dental and rental costs and other cost of living issues.
We continue to push for lower energy and health costs. The major parties have committed to addressing the cost of living but we need to reinforce this with the new ministers and the opposition.
We still have massive challenges ahead with the interim findings of the aged-care royal commission due in October 2019 and final report in April 2020.
It will bring into sharp focus the need for a new government approach to older Australians concerned about their retirement, aged care and superannuation. It will also highlight the needs of younger Australians caring for older parents.
Neither party addressed what our CEO and head of Research Prof. John McCallum called “the running sore” of the home care wait list, still almost 130,000 with 16,000 dying waiting for care last year.
Veteran political journalist and commentator, Denis Shanahan wrote this week it is now time for a “broad look at retirement policy, aged care, superannuation and intergenerational dependence.”
He pointed out this would need the Aged Care Minister being moved into the inner cabinet. This must be done and we are writing to the PM saying so.
Thank you for your support and signing up to our campaigns. Thanks too, to the Board and National Council who approved our new member focused strategy.
Special thanks to policy manager Brendon Radford and the team who designed the campaigns you signed up to during the build up to the election.
We need you and your views. We will be writing to you soon about how you can help us to help others.
People power can and will bring about change for good. There is a lot of work ahead. Watch this space.
In the months ahead and as we head to the next budget and the next election we will keep you up to date with our advocacy and policy development. I hope you will continue to keep in touch via our Connect weekly email and our campaign pages. If you have not signed up please do so.
One “known known” is that one in three voters is over 60. That is a powerful reminder to those in power that they really do ignore older Australians at their peril.
So keep your membership and encourage others to join so we can grow and continue to fight for and win a fair go for all older Australians.