Election Panel Voices

Election Panel Voices

COTA Australia’s election platform was entirely informed by older Australians. Some of their voices have been captured here:

Valerie Hanrahan, Ingham QLD

I strongly object to the term “older Australians”. My age is not a barrier to my mind and, for the time being, nor is my body a barrier to my abilities. I have worked full-time for 50 years, and continue to work in a voluntary capacity for my community.

Policies which support Australians to enjoy our chosen lifestyle should be far reaching and inclusive of all levels of ageing.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of land with water. To encourage growth in industry, jobs, and innovative technologies, governments should be utilising this advantage and developing new infrastructure to support greenfield town projects.

There is sufficient knowledge and expertise in our communities to build sustainable ecosystems which minimise impacts on our land. These initiatives should include services for education, health and lifestyle so that families can remain together. The flow-on service industries would supply employment.

Marian Summers, Brompton SA

I am a 66 year old woman and neither look nor feel it. There is no way I can give up the rest of my life to stay home and rot because people biologically younger than me, perceive me to be “past it.”

I am constantly confronted by this discrimination in every aspect of day to day living – in shops, in hotels, schools, music venues, general conversation, job opportunities, etc etc.

One doesn’t change as a person, because of a few wrinkles, middle age spread, grandchildren, knee replacements, lack of income, age pension etc. We don’t change our taste in music, dress, intelligence, love of life, love life, etc, overnight and become a twin set, pearl wearing, granny sitting knitting in a rocking chair. Some mature people prefer that, it’s all good. Let It Be.

BUT I just can’t help but age disgracefully and tolerate the ignorant & hurtful comments. Rock On!

Tina Merritt, Bellevue Heights SA

It’s about time the government started taking notice of the money self-funded retirees are saving the tax payer. We are more discriminated against than any other group. We have worked hard all our lives and squirreled money away into our superannuation – only to find that this works against you when you retire. Most of us qualify for nothing. I believe that we should at least get Pension concessions at the age of 70, even if we don’t qualify for pension payments.

Which party is going to support the non-pensioners – those of us who have never been a drain on society?

G Hutchinson, Bankstown NSW

Self-funded retirees are suffering financially at the moment. Many have had to ask for a pension to help pay the bills. If the economy was better, they wouldn’t need a pension and the government would be able to pass on the savings to help people on the NDIS.

Older people need a Senior’s TV Channel. They need to have their minds stimulated which would help them enjoy a more fruitful old age. You can watch children’s programmes on the 3 ABC TV Channels why not a channel for older people? At present most of the interesting programmes are on late at night.

We need to develop Solar Energy. I was told years ago that if we built a series of Solar Stations across Australia we could light up Europe as well as ourselves. It would be expensive but save the environment.

Asylum seekers – we need to spend more money processing the legal ones and set up infrastructures on the fringes of our cities. Give them work to do and pay them. It worked with the refugees who came after World War II.

Mrs. Gillian Martin,  SA

There really needs to be easier methods for contacting ‘help lines’ when the caring role becomes too onerous and temporary respite is needed.

I waited 40 minutes in a telephone queue when I was at the end of my tether and finally had to terminate my place in the queue as my elderly relative needed my assistance to access the toilet.

We cannot spend so much time in our busy day to monitor the ‘speaker phone’ while awaiting a response. We elderly citizens naturally take a longer time to problem-solve today’s technology. Yes, we can do it, but technology is a new skill for us and perhaps we need a more consideration in our attempts to access services.

Clythe Greenwood, Hahndorf SA

As an active 80 year old I see that a major problem we seniors have is the top heavy management of the allocation of funding for Home Care.

For instance to receive this, the approval, activation and provision of this goes through five stages from Federal Government to State Government, then either Local Government or the Department of Veteran Affairs before it is contracted to a Company, who then subcontracts the individual type of service, who then employs an untrained employee to actually do the service for the senior for whom it is required.

Then the $5 payment account is posted out to the senior (accounting fees apply) who then has to pay on line, by post, the local post office or Health Organisation before it is repaid to the appropriate Government Department or Organisation.

The mind boggles at the many fees incurred. It is a scenario straight from the TV series “Yes Minister”.

Murray Hindle, President, West Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society


You would not know it by the lack of comment from our political masters and the media that recently two significant forums took place. These forums tackled a subject of vital importance to the aging members of our community.

The first held earlier in the year in Queensland by the Australia 21 group and their topic was “The right to choose an assisted death : Time for legislation ? “. Conclusions were that State Governments should develop legislation now to permit and regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide in defined and limited circumstances. And further that Federal Parliament should restore powers that were withdrawn from the Territories so these parliaments do the same.

The other forum was held in New South Wales on the 27th of June by the Council for the Aging (COTA). The topic was “Let’s talk about dying”. Nicholas Cowdry QC spoke about the importance of choice and the current consequences of assisting with a suicide. He pressed strongly for ”voluntary assisted dying”. Professor Ken Hillman from the University of NSW discussed “End Stage” and the unnecessary prolonging of life both on a humane and a financial justification level.

How much longer will the aged have to suffer and resort to DIY methods of release before our politicians find the spine to open this subject to debate and legalisation?

Julia Lynch, President, Park Home Owners Association WA Inc

Many older Australians, estimated number to be 162,000, are living in their own homes, fully paid for but they are renting the land on which their manufactured home is sited.

These responsible Australians, who have worked and saved to provide for themselves, not being a drain on the financial purse of State or Commonwealth governments, are not adequately protected by State or Federal Legislation. They may pay several hundred thousand dollars for their lovely homes but can be evicted, both home and occupants, if the land owner chooses another use for their land.

In some States compensation is paid to the Park resident, but where do they take their home? Few options are available close to the services older Australians need. The cost of moving a manufactured home, which is not a mobile residence, is astronomical. Rents for the land on which the home is sited are increasing, and, for many, their rents have long passed the ceiling at which Centrelink Rent Assistance compensates for these increases.

Residential Villages offer older Australians a ‘community’ that provides social interaction, support and a meaningful lifestyle that has to be experienced to be appreciated. These Australians have provided a home for themselves, but are being let down by both State And Federal governments who have failed to take action to protect this vulnerable set of responsible home owning Australians.

At this time in Australia’s history where home ownership is fast becoming a lotto dream and renting is unaffordable for many, they fail to see the benefit in legislating to protect an affordable, supportive and desirable accommodation option.

Wake-up Politicians there is an existing solution to affordable housing, but you do need to think outside the square.

John McDonald, Wantirna

Both Labor and Liberal will not listen to the serious problems that face Seniors who want to downsize their home to a smaller unit. The cost difference is beyond many and in the end they give up and have to remain in a home that they no longer can manage.

Unless some assistance is given as a matter of urgency this will become a serious issue as the ageing population increases, there are many ways this can be addressed and when you talk to any Politician all you get is a blank look and none so far have shown any interest .