The Senate Inquiry into Aged Care released a unanimous report, in which Senators from all sides of politics condemned the department for denying that there is a crisis in aged care. The problems are that manifold. Underpaid staff are leaving the sector in droves. Cash strapped operators are not building the only partially funded beds. The complex and difficult funding and classification system is so daunting that many clients and their families are avoiding registering until acute care is required.
It is unsurprising that The Greens chose Tweed Heads as the venue for one of the forums for discussing the document, only the statistical district of Port Macquarie is more mature. Over one third of the area’s population is older than 55 and more than one quarter of us are over 65. That is double the national average.
What surprises some people, however, is that The Greens are launching an Aged Care policy at all. The assumption seems to be that The Greens are focused on purely environmental issues. Of course, the truth of the matter is that the Greens are a grass roots movement building into the major political force of this century, just as the labour movement did during the last one.
The things that set The Greens apart from the old parties is that we are not chasing votes for the sake of power, we are seeking power for the sake of the earth, the environment and future generations. The people representing Green voters in governments around Australia are there because they are convinced that a better future is possible. The surge in Greens support at the polls is evidence that we all have something invested in that hope.
Giovanni (Joe) Ebono is the author, editor and publisher of a number of books on sustainable living.