Photo: Courtesy of National Seniors Australia
By Yasmin Noone
Calling all aged care sector workers and individuals aged 50 years and over with a passion for politics, a fighting will and an interest in all issues age-related! National Seniors Australia wants you to join its ranks as an activist.
Only a few weeks out from the turn of 2012 – the proposed year of aged care reform – the advocacy and lobby group is now asking those National Seniors members, who want to ramp up their involvement and make the voice of the aged care consumer heard throughout the halls of Parliament House, to step forward and volunteer to be an ‘activist’.
The volunteer role will vary according to the individual’s needs and interests but some of the tasks on offer include writing letters to local politicians, door-knocking and petitioning members of parliament, marching on Canberra, being interviewed by the media, or mobilising other members to join the campaign for aged care reform.
CEO of National Seniors Australia, Michael O’Neill, said although just being a member of the organisation is very much appreciated and considered “gold”, now is the chance for those who want to get more active to do so.
“We value every membership, “Mr O’Neill said. “[But] this is a chance to add value to that membership.
“..We are calling on people who are willing to contribute, whatever way they can, to get involved.”
Participation can mean anything from being “available to provide a human face of the issues, right through to [providing] a more significant protest presence…and everything in between”.
With the sector now so close to achieving change, Mr O’Neill said the activism of both National Seniors staff and members is vital.
“One compliments the other.
“National Seniors can provide the issues and arguments [needed to lobby and advance the rights of seniors] and we will continue to do that.”
But, he said, the real-life stories and experiences of seniors themselves is really what the organisation is all about, underpins what the organisation hopes to achieve and helps to create a groundswell of interest for political change which, in the end, makes lobbying more effective and influential.
“For the first time in a long time, there is now some momentum for change across the sector – not just from consumer groups but from providers and workers.
“It’s not often that you get collective agreement about the necessity for change…where all things come together with a willingness [for reform] from government.
“So there’s a real expectation now, that in 2012 we will see some commitments made by the parliament around where to from here on aged care reform.
“…The important thing now is to really maintain [lobbying] momentum and see results.
“Rest assured – as we said, 2012 is the year of action by the parliament on aged care.”
To contact National Seniors Australia, click here.