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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
(Crosio, Janice, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Marek, Paul, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Baldwin, Bob, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Draper, Trish, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Goods and Sales Tax
(Evans, Gareth, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Slipper, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Redundancy and Termination Entitlements
(Andren, Peter, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
(Evans, Richard, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Hollis, Colin, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Skase, Mr C.
(Wakelin, Barry, MP, Williams, Daryl, MP)
(O'Connor, Gavan, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Lloyd, Jim, MP, Wooldridge, Dr Michael, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Gash, Joanna, MP, Truss, Warren, MP)
(Macklin, Jenny, MP, Smith, Warwick, MP)
(Hardgrave, Gary, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
- Small Business
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL RESPONSES
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO MR SPEAKER
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE BILL 1997 [No. 2]
- MATTERS REFERRED TO MAIN COMMITTEE
- AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (PLANNING AND LAND MANAGEMENT) AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- LAW OFFICERS AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 3) 1997
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
Social Security Payments
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Fischer, Tim, MP)
(Jones, Barry, MP, Downer, Alexander, MP)
Sirway Asia Pacific Contract
(Bevis, Arch, MP, McLachlan, Ian, MP)
Department of Industry, Science and Tourism: Consultants
(McClelland, Robert, MP, Moore, John, MP)
- Japanese Economy
Tuesday, 10 March 1998
Mr RICHARD EVANS (4:09 PM) —I guess that most people in this House would consider that the issues of aged care and aged people in Australia are very important. I do, and I share their views. The matter of public importance today is a very important one to be discussed, but I think it should be discussed on the facts rather than as a wish-list, as the opposition has done. The matter of public importance says:
The ongoing concern amongst older Australians created by the Government's policies, particularly in the area of aged care.
I would like to address the substance of those particular issues. There is a great need for us to look at policies with some generational responsibility when it comes to these particular demographics, because we know that by the year 2031 in Australia the aged demographic of 65-plus will in fact double. For those aged 80-plus, that demographic over 10 years—from 1991 to the year 2001, which is only 30 months away—will in fact increase by 49 per cent. Costs in this area have also increased by some 41 per cent since 1987. Over the 13 years that the previous speakers were in government—and we must remember that they were in government for 13 years—they had the opportunity to address this vital area, yet nursing home capital and quality deteriorated an awful lot.
Until we came into government some 40 per cent of residents in nursing home care had to share their bedrooms with four or more people. Not many people in this place would agree with that. Yet they, on that side of politics, allowed that to happen.
I was very interested to listen to both the opposition speakers—the member for Jagajaga (Ms Macklin) and the member for Blaxland (Mr Hatton)—and I was prepared to take a lot of copious notes about their debate. In fact, I did not even fill up half a page for either one of them. The member for Jagajaga was talking about funding cutbacks and clawing back of taxation increases. She identifies a problem there and, by implication, realises that the Labor Party caused the problem, but she sees no solutions or answers to that problem. She said that we were going around misleading Australia all through 1997. That is not the truth. The truth is that for 13 years, whilst the Labor Party were in power, they misled the aged population of Australia. Who could forget that in the 1993 election campaign the then Treasurer, one John Dawkins, the former member for Fremantle, said:
After we are re-elected, no pensioner would be in the taxation system.
On 18 March—five days after the 13 March election—he said: I feel no obligation to meet that promise to take the pensioners out of the tax system.
So they come in here bleating about misleading the Australian people when in fact they were the great misleaders of the Australian people for the 13 years prior to 1996.
The member for Jagajaga had not much substance in her debate. She says she cares for the aged population of Australia. Well, she is more into scaring than caring. I have some advice here from a guy called Terry Healy, the CEO of one of the larger aged care organisations in Adelaide, who wrote to Ms Macklin. He said:
You have been very successful in creating unnecessary—
I repeat `unnecessary'—
concern amongst the elderly and their families. It is obvious from your statements that you have either a limited understanding of the industry on which you are commenting or, as I suspect is more probable, you are choosing to bend the information for political gain.
This is someone from within the industry commenting on the shadow minister who has just stood up here and criticised us. They had 13 years to do something about this issue. They did nothing. We are trying to do some thing and they are criticising us and putting through a scare campaign.
The shadow minister also likes to quote Mr Francis Sullivan from the Australian Catholic Health Care Association. On the ABC national radio program World Today, at 12.30 p.m. on 4 February 1998, he was asked whether people would have to sell their homes. He said:
Well, obviously the change in government policy means that people are not going to be selling their homes to go into a nursing home.
The shadow minister spent 15 minutes not talking about older Australians but putting a scare campaign through this parliament that people will have to sell their family homes, yet here is someone, again in the industry, saying they do not have to. So who do we believe: people in the industry or those in the party that deceived us for 13 years when they were in government?
Let me talk about the member for Blaxland. Who can remember the former member for Blaxland? I think the current member outshines the former member, who was, as we remember, the former Prime Minister. The member for Blaxland said that some huge funds of money were going into hostel care whilst they were in government. That is true. But what happened to nursing home care? They completely ignored it and they lowered funding by 75 per cent.
The member for Blaxland also said that all the coalition are interested in is belting the aged. Nothing could be further from the truth because we are a party that has policies for all Australians. We focus on all Australians. For instance, we as a party were the first in Australia to align the pension rate to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. Last Friday we made an announcement that we were increasing the pension rate to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. The Labor Party talked about it, but they did nothing about it. We did that last Friday.
We are giving a tax rebate for self-funded retirees. The Labor Party do not want to have self-funded retirees in Australia. They ignored them for so long. They taxed them almost out of existence. We are giving them a tax rebate. We are also giving them a health insurance rebate. We have also increased the domiciliary nursing care benefit. They never did. We are giving savings benefits to older Australians. We are giving benefits to farm families. We are giving seniors access to the Commonwealth seniors card. We have given capital gains tax relief for self-funded retirees and cut provisional tax rates as well. These are things that the coalition are supplying to older Australians because we care. And those opposite scare. They scare older Australians. They are scaring some of the most vulnerable people in this country. They are scaring; we are acting. We promised all that for Australians and now we are responding.
The previous administration left some legacies, and the Minister for Family Services (Mr Warwick Smith) showed some graphs before. The Labor Party failed the nursing home sector. Capital funding for nursing homes was decreased by 75 per cent. They even commissioned the Gregory report, which identified nursing homes as one of the significant issues they should be addressing, but they never, ever addressed it. They never did; we did. They abandoned rural constituencies as well. We in fact are addressing them.
Under the Labor administration, for instance, 13 per cent of nursing homes did not meet fire standards. These are aged people. They are people we should all be caring about, but 13 per cent of nursing homes did not meet fire standards under a Labor administration. Eleven per cent of nursing homes did not meet necessary health guidelines—under a Labor administration. Design and building codes were not met in 75 per cent of nursing homes, and 51 per cent of nursing home residents lived in wards with three or more beds. Here is their funding graph. You notice up here is 1990-91 and down here is 1995-96.
Ms Macklin —Who did you copy that off?
Mr RICHARD EVANS —All they can do is say, `Who did you copy that off? Where did you get that information? It wasn't us. We had 13 years. We were going to address it in our 14th year. That is when we were going to do something about nursing homes. We handled the hostels but nursing homes were too hard.' The Labor Party have nothing. They have scare campaigns and all they want to do is increase taxes.
Alannah MacTiernan from the Labor Party in Western Australia recommended at your national conference the reintroduction of death taxes. That is what you people over there are after—increasing death taxes. You do not care about older Australians, generational responsibilities or mutual obligations. You do not care about any of that. You are only into scaring some of the most vulnerable people in our country who have served this country well. All you want to do is create a scare campaign. The Labor Party will do whatever it takes. They want the votes. They will scare as much as they can. They will do whatever it takes.
Mr SPEAKER —Order! The discussion is concluded.