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Speech at the opening of the Society of St Vincent De Paul "Ozanam" Home of Peace and Contentment



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SPEECH BY THE PRIME M IN IS T E R , MR. E .G . WHITLAM, Q . C . , M . P . , AT

THE OPENING OF THE SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL, "OZANAM" HOME OF

PEACE AND CONTENTMENT, CAMPBELL, A . C . T . 14 FEBRUARY 1 9 7 4

I AM ESPECIALLY PLEASED ON THE DAY AFTER MY RETURN FROM

So u t h -E a s t As i a to b e a s s o c ia t e d w it h t h e l a u n c h in g o f a new

ENTERPRISE OF THE St . VlNCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY, FOR AMONG THE VERY

WIDE RANGE OF ITS A C T IV IT IE S , THE SOCIETY HAS INCLUDED TRAINING

PROGRAMS AND MATERIAL ASSISTANCE IN SOUTH-EAST A S IA . UNDOUBTEDLY,

SINCE ITS FOUNDATION BY A GROUP OF STUDENTS 141 YEARS AGO, THE

SOCIETY HAS CARRIED ITS WORK AMONG THE POOR INTO AS MANY AREAS

AS POSSIBLE. ΪΗ Ε SOCIETY'S WORK AMONG THE HOMELESS, THE YOUNG,

THE HANDICAPPED AND THE DISADVANTAGED, BOTH IN AUSTRALIA AND

OVERSEAS, TESTIFIES TO THE VIGOUR WITH WHICH THE PRINCIPLES SET

b y Fr e d e r ic k Ozanam - one o f t h e g r e a t Ca t h o l ic s o f t h e l a s t 2 oo

YEARS - ARE BEING PURSUED.

X . . . . '

T he name you h a v e c h o s e n fo r your l a t e s t e n t e r p r is e ,

A NEW AGED PERSONS HOSTEL, IS THEREFORE PARTICULARLY APPROPRIATE.

And your p o l ic y o f a d m it t in g aged p e o p l e -t o t h i s home on t h e b a s is

OF NEED IS IN LIN E WITH THE HIGHEST IDEALS OF THE FOUNDER OF THE

s o c ie t y . T he Au s t r a l ia n Go v e r n m e n t i s h a p p y to h a v e b e e n

ASSOCIATED WITH TH IS ENDEAVOUR. CLEARLY THE 8 2 9 7 ,0 0 0 WHICH THE

Go v e r n m e n t has p r o v id e d un der t h e Aged Pe r s o n s Ho s t e l s Ac t ha s

b e e n w e l l d ir e c t e d . .

An o th e r so urc e o f p l e a s u r e for me i s to s e e t h a t , i n

e s t a b l is h in g t h i s h o s t e l , t h e s o c ie t y h a s shown a f u l l a w a r e n e s s

FOR A MODERN APPROACH TO HOUSING FOR THE AGED, THE BREAKDOWN

OF THE TRADITIONAL THREE-GENERATION FAMILY UNIT THROUGHOUT THE

WESTERN WORLD AND ITS REPLAvtt ilw ι uY i III. Uu CALLED NUCLEAR FAMIL Y

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HAS CREATED AN ENORMOUS PROBLEM WITH THE CARE OF THE AGED,

For too long t h e p r o b le m was d e a l t w it h b y p r o v id in g o n l y one

CHOICE - THE NURSING HOME - FOR AGED PEOPLE WHO D ID NOT HAVE

THEIR OWN HOME OR WHO COULD NO LONGER LIVE THERE. T H IS FORCED

MANY AGED PEOPLE INTO A STYLE OF ACCOMMODATION WHICH WAS NOT

APPROPRIATE TO THEIR NEEDS. MANY OLD PEOPLE WHO WERE F IT AND

WILLING TO PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY IN THE SOCIETY AROUND.THEM HAD

TO LIV E IN INSTITUTIO NS WHICH WERE INTENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE

LESS PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY CAPABLE,

. ' J .

One of t h e m o s t im p o r t a n t d e v e l o p m e n t s i n t h e care

OF THE AGED IN RECENT YEARS HAS BEEN THE GROWING EMPHASIS ON

PROVIDING OTHER CHOICES FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE, ΪΗ Ε GOVERNMENT

ACTIVELY SUPPORTS AN APPROACH BASED ON HAVING THREE TYPES OF

ACCOMMODATION PROVIDED FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE WHO NO LONGER CAN STAY

AT HOME, WE WANT TO SEE THESE PEOPLE BE ABLE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN

SELF-CONTAINED U N IT S , HOSTEL-TYPE HOMES AND, ONLY WHERE TH IS IS

MEDICALLY NECESSARY, NURSING HOMES, THE CREATION OF HOSTEL-TYPE

ACCOMMODATION HERE IN CAMPBELL BY THE St , VlNCENT DE PAUL

So c ie t y f u l l y ac co rds w it h t h i s t h r e e - t ie r e d a p p r o a c h ,

Much r e m a in s to b e do ne i n t h i s a r e a , Ev e n now i t has

BEEN ESTIMATED THAT ABOUT 25 PER CENT OF PEOPLE CURRENTLY IN

NURSING HOMES SHOULD NOT BE THERE, We MUST EXPLORE QUICKLY AND

VIGOROUSLY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS OF PROVIDING OTHER CHOICES FOR THE

a g e d . T he Au s t r a l ia n Go v e r n m e n t i n t h e l a s t y e a r h a s t a k e n

SEVERAL IMPORTANT STEPS TO REVIEW AND REVISE THE APPROACH TO

AGED PERSONS HOUSING, ΪΗ Ε NEWLY ESTABLISHED SOCIAL WELFARE

Co m m is s io n a p p o in t e d a c o m m it t e e to in q u ir e in t o a g e d p e r s o n s

h o u s i n g in J une 19 73 a n d i t gave an in t e r im r e p o r t to t h e Mi n i s t e r

fo r So c ia l Se c u r i t y a t t h e end of No v e m b e r . I n k e e p in g w i t h the

Go v e r n m e n t ' s p o l ic y of m a k in g documents of t h i s k i n d p u b l i c , the

i n t e r im r e p o r t was p r o m p t l y t a b l e d i n Fe d e r a l Pa r l ia m e n t . I t made

A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS, PARTICULARLY RELATING TO

Go v e r n m e n t s u b s i d i e s . I e x p e c t t h a t Ca b in e t w il l c o n s id e r t h e

REPORT AND MAKE A DECISION ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE NEXT

few w e e k s . Me a n w h il e t h e work of t h e c o m m it t e e of in q u ir y w il l

c o n t in u e a n d I w ould draw s p e c ia l a t t e n t io n t o t h e f a c t t h a t

GMH o r ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE IS TO INQUIRE INTO "THE NEED FOR

t h e Au s t r a l ia n Government to in t r o d u c e a n y a l t e r n a t iv e or a d d it io n a l

Go v e r n m e n t programs o f a s s is t a n c e for t h e h o u s in g a n d care o f t h e

a g e d " .

I n a d d i t i o n to t h i s c o m m it t e e of i n q u i r y , t h e Mi n i s t e r

for So c ia l . Se c u r i t y , M r Ha y d e n , e a r l y l a s t y e a r a s k e d a St a n d in g

Co m m it t e e o f t h e Na t io n a l He a l t h an d Me d ic a l Re s e a r c h Co u n c il

to in q u ir e in t o a n d r e p o r t on t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f g e r ia t r ic c a re

GENERALLY IN AUSTRALIA. ΪΗ Ε COMMITTEE HAS BEEN MEETING REGULARLY

u n d e r t h e Ch a ir m a n s h ip o f Dr Da v i d d e So u z a , an e x p e r t i n t h e f i e l d

OF GERIATRIC CARE. ΪΗ Ε COMMITTEE IS EXPECTED TO REPORT TO M r HAYDEN

ve ry SOON. O n ANOTHER FRONT, THE MINISTER FOR HOUSING, M r JOHNSON,

HAS ASKED THE S TA TIS TIC IA N TO CONDUCT A NATION-WIDE SURVEY OF

AGED PERSONS' HOUSING NEEDS. I n ASKING FOR THE SURVEY M r JOHNSON

DECLARED THAT THE STUDY WAS NECESSARY IF EFFECTIVE ACTION WAS TO

BE TAKEN TO SOLVE THE GRAVE HOUSING PROBLEMS NOW CONFRONTING MANY

AGED PERSONS, ESPECIALLY PENSIONERS. ΪΗ Ε SURVEY IS SCHEDULED TO

b e g in in Decem b er t h i s y e a r . '

Th e s e in v e s t ig a t io n s are needed to ensure that community

A CTIV IT Y in t h is area is a p p r o p r ia t e to the needs of our senio r

c it iz e n s , The Government, however, has not been content to do nothing

fresh w hile i t awaits the results of the s t u d ie s , I t has taken

ACTION TO MAKE .MORE MONEY AVAILABLE FOR AGED PERSONS HOUSING AND

FOR DOMICILIARY CARE FOR THE AGED, IN MARCH LAST YEAR IT ANNOUNCED

THAT PEOPLE CARING FOR SICK AGED RELATIVES IN NEED OF NURSING CARE

IN THEIR OWN HOMES WOULD BECOME ELIG IB LE FOR A §14 A WEEK GOVERNMENT

grant, It has enacted an Aged Persons Homes Bil l which increased

FROM S10 TO S12 A WEEK THE RATE OF SUBSIDY PAID TO ELIG IB LE

ORGANISATIONS WHICH PROVIDE PERSONAL*CARE SERVICES FOR THE AGED

IN HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION, .

TW O OTHt k UOVLIi i j i i CN' f ACTIONS ! AST YEAR Y R V u Ϊ i U -.L ss'T; '

TO THE NEED FOR IMPROVING HOME CARE F A C IL IT IE S FOR THE AGED,

: - :l· i . . . " I r - v ς Su b s i d y Bill was enacted to i. ■

U l· PAID i:< 'ViCAi.J-ON· Ι/ ί ϋΈΙ . : - " rRTViC.EC YuOM ID CENTS

TO 20 CENTS PER MEAL, THEN THE STATES GRANTS (HOME CARE) B IL L WAS

BROUGHT IN TO INFUSE EXTRA FUNDS INTO THE PRESENT HOME CARE

PROGRAM, THE B IL L INCREASED THE GOVERNMENT'S GRANTS TO THE STATES

FROM A DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR BASIS TO $2 FOR EVERY § 1 SPENT BY THE

States on housekeeper and home health ser vic es and senior c it iz e n

centres, I t also increased the su bsidy for welfare o ffic er s

EMPLOYED FOR SENIOR C IT IZ E N CENTRES FROM HALF TO TWO~THIRDS OF

T U F T R S A L A R Y ,

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Th e Go v e r n m e n t' s a i m w i t h a l l of t h e s e a c t i o n s i s t o

ENSURE THAT ALL AGED.PEOPLE THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA CAN L I V E IN

COMFORT AND D I G N I T Y AND THAT ALL AGED PEOPLE GAN SPEND TH EIR

T I M E IN AN INTERES TING AND STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT,

T o ACHIEVE THIS AIM WE MUST ENSURE THAT WE. ALLOW FOR THE

UTMOST F L E X IB IL IT Y IN THE CARE OF THE AGED, Wh BELI EVE THAT, IF

AT ALL POSSIBLE, AGED PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE IN THEIR

OWN HOMES AND MUCH OF OUR ACTIVITY WILL BE DIRECTED TOWARDS THIS

END, We HOPE THAT THE AUSTRALIAN ASSISTANCE PLAN WILL PROVIDE A

FRAMEWORK FOR TH IS, ΪΗΕ PLAN, WHICH AIMS TO ASSIST IN THE

DEVELOPMENT AT A REGIONAL LEVEL OF NATIONALLY CO-ORDINATED

WELFARE ACTIV.ITY, WILL PROVIDE FOR COST SHARING WITH LOCAL

AUTHORI TI ES AND VOLUNTARY AGENCIES OVER A WIDE RANGE OF WELFARE

SERVICES, We HOPE THAT THE PLAN WILL ENABLE GREATER ATTENTION TO

BE PAID TO HOME V IS IT IN G AND OTHER DOMICILIARY CARE SO THAT ELDERLY

PEOPLE CAN REMAIN IN THEIR OWN HOMES FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE,

The Go ver n m en t i s also e x a m i n i n g t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of e s t a b l i s h i n g

DAY CARE CENTRES TO WHICH AGED PEOPLE WOULD GO FOR MEDICAL

TREATMENT AND SERVICES, SUCH AS CHIROPODY, WHILE LIV IN G AT HOME,

Th i s c o n c ept has t h e a d d i t i o n a l a d va n t a g e t h a t i t would o f f e r t h e

PO S S IB ILITY OF REGULAR AND WIDE-RANGING SOCIAL CONTACT FOR

ELDERLY PEOPLE, ,

t

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r

j Wh e t h e r t h e aged l i v e a t home or i n h o s t e l s or i n n u r s in g

HOMES , IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS THAT WE MUST DO ALL THAT

WE CAN TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEM TO REMAIN INVOLVED IN THE

COMMUNITY AROUND THEM. T H IS NEED IS FREQUENTLY OVERLOOKED AND

A KIND OF GERIATRIC APARTHEID HAS RESULTED. ΪΗ Ε GOVERNMENT BELIEVES H THAT WE MUST EXPLORE ALL P O S S IB IL IT IE S FOR WIDE-RANGING SOCIAL

CONTACT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT FOR THE AGED. As AN EXAMPLE, Mr HAYDEN

HAS ASKED THE SOCIAL WELFARE COMMISSION TO LOOK AT THE P O S S IB IL IT Y i

OF SENIOR C IT IZ E N CENTRES BEING USED AS A BASIS FOR DAY CARE SERVICES. I* Th i s would e n a b l e a g e d p e o p l e to look a f t e r c h il d r e n w i t h whom t h e y

COULD DEVELOP A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP.

I AM SURE THAT THE SOCIETY OF St . VlNCENT DE PAUL SHARES

/^LL OF THESE AIMS AND IDEALS. THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY I T HAS

EMPHASISED THE NEED FOR PERSONAL CONTACT BETWEEN IT S WORKERS AND t

THE PEOPLE WITH WHOM THEY ARE INVOLVED.

Aged p e r s o n s h o u s in g and d o m i c i l i a r y c a r e w i l l n o t, of

COURSE, BY THEMSELVES SATISFY OUR AIM OF ENSURING A COMFORTABLE i .

AND D I G N I F I E D L I F E FOR THE AGED. THE GOVERNMENT I S COMMITTED TO

!:

IMPROVING THE LOT OF ELDERLY PEOPLE IN OTHER WAYS, PARTICULARLY L I'N FINA NCIAL TERMS. ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE F IR S T S IT T IN G OF THE

N;EWLY ELECTED PARLIAMENT LAST YEAR A B IL L WAS INTRODUCED TO INCREASE k PENSIONS BY $ 1 . 5 0 A WEEK. PAYMENT I OF THE PENSION INCREASE WAS

MADE RETROSPECTIVE TO THE F IR S T PAY DAY AFTER THE 1 9 7 2 ELECTIONS.

The Bu d g e t p r o v id e d for a f u r t h e r in c r e a s e of $ 1 . 5 0 a week i n

PENSIONS IN THE SPRING. THESE TWO INCREASES HAVE MEANT THAT W IT H IN

Αί YEAR PENSIONS HAVE RISEN BY 1 5 PER CENT, WHICH HAS ALLOWED THEM !' TO KEEP AHEAD OF IN F L A T IO N .

I

]

W e h a v e c o n s t a n t l y r e - a f f ir m e d our in t e n t io n to l i f t

PENSIONS TO 25 PER CENT.OF AVERAGE WEEKLY MALE EARNINGS, In KEEPING

WITH THIS AIM WE HAVE ALSO REPEATED OUR PLEDGE TO INCREASE PENSIONS

e a c h Sp r in g a n d Autum n u n t i l t h i s l e v e l i s r e a c h e d .

I n a d d i t i o n to t h e s e in c r e a s e s , t h e Go v e r n m e n t i s m o v in g j

TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF THE MEANS TEST ON AGE PENSIONS, THE FIRST *

STEP TOWARDS THIS OBJECTIVE WAS TAKEN IN THE BUDGET WITH THE ABOLITION

OF THE MEANS TEST FOR ALL PEOPLE AGED 75 OR MORE. ANOTHER STEP WILL

b e t a k e n in t h i s y e a r ' s Bu d g e t .

I n t h i s c o n t e x t o f l ib e r a l i s a t io n I WOULD a l s o m e n t io n

- A MEASURE OF PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE TO ELDERLY C IT IZ E N S WHO HAVE

, come to Au s t r a l ia from o th e r c o u n t r ie s . T he n a t io n a l Pa r l ia m e n t

ENACTED LAST YEAR A B IL L WHICH MAKES AVAILABLE AGE AND SOME OTHER ,

p e n s io n s to Au s t r a l ia n p e n s io n e r s who w is h to l i v e i n . a n y o t h e r «

COUNTRY, No LONGER WILL AN AGED PERSON WHO HAS WORKED HARD IN . ,

Au s t r a l ia l o s e t h e s o c ia l s e r v ic e f r u it s of h i s l a b o u r s im p l y b e c a u s e

HE WANTS TO SPEND H IS LAST YEARS IN HIS COUNTRY OF O R IG IN . .

I n a l l t h a t i t i s d o in g , t h e Go v e r n m e n t a im s to o verco m e

, THE DISADVANTAGES AND INEQUALITIES THAT TOO MANY AGED PEOPLE HAVE

SUFFERED IN THE PAST IN AUSTRALIA. W e BELIEVE THAT WITH PROPER

PLANNING AND ADEQUATE SPENDING WE CAN ERADICATE THE WORST OF THE .. . . . . i

; INEQUALITIES THAT AT PRESENT E X IS T , We BELIEVE THAT, BY CO-OPERATING t

WITH VOLUNTARY AGENCIES SUCH AS THE SOCIETY OF St . VlNCENT DE PAUL, . ' .. . . . . . . .. I

WE CAN ENABLE AGED PEOPLE TO HAVE THE D IG N IT Y AND COMFORT WHICH IS

THEIR RIGHT, '

W e a p p l a u d a l l t h a t your So c ie t y has a c h ie v e d i n t h e p a s t

and we know we can c o u n t on your co- o p e r a t io n i n t h e f u t u r e ,

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