As this fast and furious election campaign draws to a close the Disability Doesn’t Discriminate campaign has compiled a score card as to where the political aspirants stand on the issue of age discrimination.
Anyone 65 and over who acquires a serious disability is banned from the services and care funded by the NDIS and if they don’t have the financial resources to manage their care they are thrown into the shambolic and ill-equipped aged care system. This is age discrimination and it’s wrong.
So where do candidates for office stand on this issue?
The results reflect not only the moral failure of the two major parties but why independents are becoming a major force in our politics. We wrote to every candidate seeking election and asked them three simple questions.
Question 1. Do you support or oppose age discrimination?
Question 2. Do you support implementation of Recommendation 72 of the Aged Care Royal Commission?
Question 3. If elected, will you prioritise this matter for your electorate?
Most candidates for the two major parties didn’t even bother responding, while those who did, simply avoided answering these three simple questions.
The one exception was Dr Mike Freelander, Labor Federal Member for the southwest Sydney seat of Macarthur and paediatrician who defied the party mantra and supported the Disability Doesn’t Discriminate objectives.
It is pleasing to see all the current Independent MPs and almost all independent candidates respond and support the end of aged discrimination against people with disability aged 65 and over.
This support came from candidates in key electorates across the nation, Bass, Boothby, Braddon, Bradfield, Chisholm, Curtin, Denison, Eden-Monaro, Fadden, Flynn, Gilmore, Goldstein, Grayndler, Groom, Hasluck, Hinkler, Hume, Indi, Kooyong, Mackellar, Mallee, Mayo, Monash, New England, Nicholls, North Sydney, Page, Wannon, Warringah, Wentworth and Wide Bay.
Kooyong independent candidate and paediatric neurologist, Monique Ryan, told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that she is “very supportive” of moves to extend the NDIS age limit and that the existing age limits are “discriminatory and unjustifiable”.
They have been joined by Independent Senate candidates, Rex Patrick in South Australia and in the ACT, David Pocock.
While for the Greens, ending this age discrimination is part of their “Accessible Australia” policy platform announced in 2021.
We can only hope that the crossbenches in the next Parliament will have the power to finally give people with disability over 65 the care, respect and dignity they so richly deserve by abolishing legislated age discrimination.
Let it be a hung parliament because the major parties have hung people with disability older than 65 out to dry and we will not stop our campaign till this age discrimination is locked in the dusty cupboard of history.
Disability Doesn’t Discriminate but the Government does. Join the campaign to end age discrimination today.