Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.

As we face an ageing tsunami, Treasurer Joe Hockey has sacked the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing (and me as its chairman), declaring it to be irrelevant without stating why this is so. Shortly before that, Prime Minister Tony Abbott decided not to have a minister for ageing, downgrading the importance of millions of seniors in the life of the nation.

The sole reason for the dismissal of the panel, as conveyed to me privately by Coalition MPs, is that it was established by former treasurer Wayne Swan and it has been decided that every vestige of Swan’s term as treasurer must be obliterated. Such is the waste that politics represents in our national life.

Be this as it may, the facts of life are that by 2040 there will be 55,000 Australians who are over 100, and 5000 of them will be 110. The largest segment of our population will be those between 85 and 100. More immediately, the number of 65-year-olds will  double within the next decade.

The panel had published a report on the economic potential of senior Australians, showing that ageing can be turned into an economic and social asset if some visionary policies are progressively implemented. Swan accepted our recommendations and asked us to prepare a blueprint on ageing fleshing out the policy details of what must be done and present it to Treasury by 2014. We had a draft prepared ready for consultation with community leaders across the nation. It will now be put through the shredder.

The major issues contained in the blueprint covered such vital matters as mature age employment and training, retirement incomes, age-friendly housing, preventative health, technology for seniors, lifelong learning, recreation, volunteering, philanthropy, insurance etc. It is a pity that we have been banished and can’t finish a job that will lead to the saving of billions in budget costs and the creation of new taxable revenue.

An equal tragedy is that five vital items we spent many months negotiating for inclusion in the 2013 budget have also been cancelled. They covered important matters such as the pension assets test, housing design, technology training, wound management and the establishment of the Andrew Fisher Policy Institute. It all represents an act of irresponsible vandalism.

The tragedy is that Hockey thinks that ageing is all about nursing homes and has no appreciation of the fact that the ageing tsunami will hit the world with greater economic force than the GFC of 2008. Australia will be unprepared for it.

May I conclude by saying that the seniors of Australia stand ready to make a growing and positive contribution to the future of Australia. We want age discrimination to disappear so we can show that we are loyal and reliable workers with lots of wisdom and experience who can make a significant enhancement to the productivity of the nation. I want also to take this opportunity to thank the very able members of my panel who made an enormous contribution and do not deserve the humiliation that has been heaped upon them: Brian Howe, Susan Ryan, Gill Lewin and Neville Roach.

38 thoughts on “Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.

  1. Jill Anderson

    This can be likened to when the comminist took over China and wanted to obliterate everything they could from the past. May as well be another
    China, the Coalition dont say anything and do as the please without acontrolling question time in parliament.

  2. Alexander Drake

    Everald, my guess is that although your committee has been abolished, you (as opposed to two members of your committee, perhaps) will be asked in some other way to address seniors issues.

  3. Exactly. I’m 63 and I, too, began work at 12 and only got tertiary education in my 40s. I wasn’t handed anything, experienced sexism and now face ageism, which will get worse if this Gov has its way. There was no childcare support and when my three were young, had to work part time to be available after school and during holidays, often taking them with me when I could get the day off. Some baby boomers had advantages, but only if they were in a relatively advantaged position to start with. We’re an easy target just because our our numbers, which is a direct result of the war anyway, and because there is an assumption on the conservative side that we will vote for them anyway. I never have. And definitely never will. Anything I can do to remove them, and diminish the harm they seem set on inflicting, I will do.

  4. lindathestar

    Reblogged this on Lindathestar and commented:
    An important post on ageing, policy, and planning for the wellbeing of older Australians; not just for their benefit but for the benefit of all.

  5. tynebank

    None of the over 80s who I know voted Liberal. They remember the lies that the Menzies and Howard told to send Australians into unjust wars to boost the economy. Nobody forgets betrayal. Deceit like that is in their DNA.

  6. Tamaresque

    No, it was never a good idea. Surely the inhumanity of ‘The Howard Years’ would have taught you that.

  7. Drew

    As a gen X’er I am not too concerned. Following up on the Baby Boomers is a bit tough- would be nice to have the same opportunities they had, but oh well….

  8. If I’ve said it once Iv’e said it a hundred times, Tony Abbott’s ONLY Agenda is to undo all the good that the Gillard government did, he never considered PM Julia Gillard a legitimate Prime Minister and he in fact never referred to her as Prime Minister he considers any legislation passed during her term that originated from labour to be invalid and is hell bent on reversing or getting rid of everything he does not like, I never liked the man in the first place and now he has proven himself to be nothing other than an odious toad with no scruples or personal integrity he seems to know he will be one term Tony and he wants to do as much damage to our health, ageing and women’s services , the economy and our international Reputation as possible, He and Joe hockey, The court Jester and the village Idiot are the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.

    1. I agree Callie Ge, If this was a novel , it would be told as another countries’ evil plan to dismantle everything good about Australia. Next he will be wanting to UNAPOLOGISE to the stolen generation, just because it was something done when labor was running the show. I find nothing about him a positive. One term Tony is one term too long he can do a lot of damage as he has already begun

  9. ian

    anger is all that is left when justice and democracy are abandoned …
    I just hope we don’t descend into barbarism and political violence

    1. The people, such as our children, may be the people who will have to exert that for change. History demands that revolution must follow such forms of Government.

  10. ian

    why is that people who voted for a political candidate always end up saying – “this is not what I voted for”…
    people – you have to be more critical in your analysis BEFORE the poles …
    next time don’t believe the lies of ANY party or political party…
    don’t take them on face value – hold them to account
    and for goodness sake vote out politicians you don’t like…

  11. Veronica Roberts

    As a baby boomer, heading for my late 60’s I find this appalling. The coalition seems to have a lot of baggage re the previous government and is doing its utmost to discredit all the good that was put in place by Labour, not for the good of the people but for their own insecurity and petty dislikes of all who have gone before them. Joe Hockey BLAH!!!

  12. The second paragraph of this post is utterly terrifying. A stark light shone into the recesses of the nasty and vengeful mindset of this government, shocking yet unsurprising to so many of us. I still cannot believe how many older Australians voted for them, totally against their own interests (hi Mum!). In many cases I know it is because they happily drank the Murdoch Kool Aid constantly thrown at them by the MSM (with a good dose of Bolt, for added strength) but for many more I think they really didn’t know what this lot was capable of and refused to listen to us “mad lefties”. To their detriment now of course.

    I will be 77 in 2040 (assuming I’m fortunate enough to get there). This issue concerns all of us, not just those who will be in that ageing catchment at that time. The generations behind us who may not think this issue has any relevance to them now are the ones who are going to have to deal with it so they need to be taking notice now.

    It is a measure of a society how it treats its elderly and its most disadvantaged and I’m very pessimistic about how things are playing out in this once big hearted nation.

    Please keep up your excellent work Everald. The crowd funding concept is a good one. I was more than happy to send some $$ to help establish the Climate Council. You might be surprised how many people would get behind your work.

  13. msadventure2

    An important question here is: Who owns the intellectual rights to the report and all the information which has been gathered?

    1. panic

      IP resides in the commissioning body, which is the Australian Government, with absolute disregard for which party was in power and which party is currently in power.

  14. I didn’t and I can put my head on my pillow at night happy in the knowledge that I have not contributed to sending this country up the creek without a paddle.

  15. ian

    One thing those who put these people into power will have to understand.

    There will be no credence given to those who approach societal, or any other, problems with holistic thought. Honest compassionate toil, the motivations behind it and the end results will be of no import to a dollar driven ideology.

    Australia is a very large cake and there are many who are owed slices.

  16. Solange Ouhmè

    Please don’t put the report through the shredder: issue it as is.. Let folks see the valuable work done ON THE PEOPLE’s BEHALF. People need to have their faces rubbed in the petty bureaucratic wastes that are characteristic of LNP waste.

  17. msadventure2

    The Climate Change Council went to social media and managed to raise a huge amount of money to keep their work going so perhaps the same could be done for the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

  18. Alison Alloway

    Oh gosh Everald, I am so sorry to hear this. I am one of the rapidly ageing baby boomer generation and well aware of the lack of aged care facilities in my home city of Cairns. Just recently one of the aged care nursing homes, called Glenmead, reduced the number of bedspaces available because of a reduction in state government funding. Please contact both the ALP and the Greens and request they take up these issues and put pressure on the LNP Federal Government. Perhaps the Seniors Magazine may also run a petition. We need “Grey Power” as never before!

    1. Tamaresque

      I turned 60 this year and a few years ago my GP asked me what I had planned for my old age. I suggested a group home / share house / residential village / old motel style of retirement with my friends around, hopefully with some sort of income producing function like rooms to rent or camping space or restaurant. He was relieved that I’d even thought about it because, in his opinion, good quality aged care will become more difficult and more expensive to obtain. As someone with a lifelong chronic illness (kidney failure) and no immediate family, this is a big concern to him.

  19. KylieP

    Just hang onto it for a couple of years and you can give it to someone who gives a damn.
    We all just have to hang on until then! Just hope the vandalism is repairable. It will cost money to destroy and then money to fix, so when people complain because Labor has to spend more again to get us back to normal, they need to be reminded that it’s because of the waste, the rorts, the pandering to big business interests and this sort of mindless destruction and lack of vision.

  20. Jimbo

    Why put the draft through a shredder? Convert the document into a PDF and make it available to all via this site, or pass it along to the ALP and the Greens. They could use your draft as the basis for their future policies?

    1. Jimbo

      And another thought: send copies of the draft report to every coalition MP as well, so they can see how important your work was, and is.

    2. Terry Ebenezer

      Hear, hear Jimbo, I totally agree. Why can we not see what this great man (Everald) and his Panel have put together and why not circularize it to all and create a storm to bring these people (aka as the Government of Australia) to their senses?

    3. This is an important piece of policy making that has already been paid for by the Taxpayers of Australia and destroying it now to massage a sociopath’s ego simply plays into his fantasy. Australia needs these policies for our future well-being even though one term Tony thinks by destroying the blueprint will assuage his jealousy and enhance his legacy. No, please circulate it to all sitting members of Parliament so they can see for themselves what is being destroyed. Then send it viral via social media so all of Australia knows what is being ripped up to assuage the jealousy of a narcissist.

  21. Terry Ebenezer

    My wife and I also voted for the coalition. Maybe we can create an email tsunami to hit Joe Hockey’s ‘in box’ to get our point across that older Australians do matter and need to be shown some respect.

  22. Wen

    Agreed with other posters, this is exactly what the Howard government did on coming to power, why would you expect anything different from Abbott? Everything achieved by the panel was not only legitimate but of enormous importance given the statistical evidence in relation to the ageing population. The often heard ‘the adults are now in charge’ rings nauseatingly hollow when these incidences of petty, bullying, damaging behaviour and consequent actions are played out and they seem to be never ending. Every day brings another example of mindless stupidity, hardly adult.

  23. Terry Ebenezer

    Here! Here! Cate, and there was I thinking that this government was going to make a positive difference. Just because the idea wasn’t their’s is no reason to toss it out. let’s get some common sense going here and reinstate the Advisory Panel and Everald and his team so that their recommendations may be implemented forthwith. Come on Hockey, let’s not spit the dummy here show that you can be a man and adopt someone else’s brilliant idea.

  24. stephen bailey

    do not give up i only one person who cares go to clive parmer i in fairfax he will understand i will try to tex palmur united steve

  25. BigW

    Are you sure this sort of work can’t be pursued outside of government? It would be a shame to stop discussing important issues just because the government doesn’t want to know about impending tsunamis/disasters (I’m thinking climate, ageing, financial crises, refugees, world food etc). We need to get our focus of attention on more than immediate matters.
    Mind you, the LNP approach in Qld seems to be to pull out of lots of areas and leave it up to someone else (either community or private business funded) to take care of important issues. That may well be behind the Feds thinking also.
    The government got in with vague slogans and ‘trust me’ sound grabs, while not committing to anything in particular – or at least not explaining what they were going to do. The fact that 53% or so of us felt this was good enough astounds me. Nothing since the election has surprised me. Worried me, definitely, but not surprised me.
    Its going to be an interesting 3 years.

  26. Sue-Ellen Deacon

    I met Mr Everald Compton when I travelled from Port Macquarie to Sydney at my own expense to meet with Kate Ellis MP.regarding an issue of discrimination of a person (me) who has endeavoured to gain employment and has been injured and on workers compensation. I did not know mr Comption prior to this breakfast meeting and he spoke to me and then he spoke to all that attended. I am in awe of what he has acheived and what he has done for the seniors. I am now disgusted that our politicians can throw away what the Advisory Panel on Ageing has achieved. Maybe they will learn of this error, but it will be too late.

  27. Cate Francis

    And here I was, hoping that my vote was going to assist in selecting sensible politicians. When will I learn!

    1. Marguerite Tideman

      can’t really call to mind any LNP ‘sensible’ politicians…….there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip Cate Francis……

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