Community rallies on the one-year anniversary of the Aged Care Royal Commission
On Tuesday 1 March 2022, the one-year anniversary of the release of the aged care royal commission’s final report, ANMF (Vic Branch) members and staff held rallies outside the offices of Federal Member for Chisholm Gladys Liu and Federal Member for Monash Russell Broadbent to call out the Morrison Government’s failure to fix aged care.
ACRN Members attended both the Victorian rallies in solidarity with Aged Care Nurses and Care Workers who are fighting for Real Reforms and are asking the Federal Government to write to the Fair Work Commission in support of the Aged Care Improved Conditions and Pay claims that are before them.
The rallies were part of a national day of action that also included protests outside the Devonport office of aged care minister, Richard Colbeck, who infamously attended an Ashes test match for three days in January instead of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the COVID outbreak sweeping through Australia’s aged care facilities.
The day of action also included an online forum involving members of the workforce and a panel of advocates and experts, discussing what is required to ensure a quality aged care system.
Commenting on the day of action, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said:
"Our nurses and carers are telling us they’re disgusted that Mr Morrison and his Government have done nothing to fix aged care. A year since the royal commission delivered its final report, with one of its key recommendations for staffing ratios, nothing’s changed. There’s still not enough staff to give residents the basic care they need."
"We want to make this an election issue" Ms Fitzpatrick (Victorian State Secretary) told the Warragul crowd. "We have an opportunity to make sure that fixing aged care is a priority – whether it be Morrison government or an Albanese government. We want the political parties to take us seriously in relation to aged care."
The disrespect and indifference demonstrated by the politicians on the day was astounding. Addressing the crowd and media outside his office, Mr. Broadbent dismissed workers’ concerns about pay by saying "there’s always an opportunity to go to the Fair Work Commission and put your case." Asked if the Federal Government would address the Royal Commission’s recommendations, he said "we’re addressing every one of the recommendations, but I want to make sure that there’s no unintended consequences. I think it has to be done carefully" he added before being drowned out by the booing crowd.
Mr. Broadbent also dismissed an aged care worker’s experiences by suggesting she was "about to make accusations", and refused to engage because the worker didn’t want to reveal her employer, and he then walked off.
Addressing the Burwood crowd, Mr. Hilakari noted that Gladys Liu was in her office when they arrived but as soon as "local residents turned up to join us’" she got in her car and drove away.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Tell your MP to prioritise aged care this election. The louder our voices, the less they can ignore us. See if your federal MP is supporting aged care reform this election and send them a message to thank them or encourage them to make aged care a priority. It’s not too much to ask!