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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians.

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.


Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference



Aged Care - Australia


Aged Care - A National Disgrace

Aged Care Facilities


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Aged Care - A National Disgrace

The contempt in which successive governments have treated our Senior Citizens (Older Australians) can at best be described as a National disgrace.

These men and women fought and survived world wars, depressions, droughts, floods and numerous other adversities known to man... and then some. It was their blood, sweat and tears that created an economy that was the envy of the modern world. It was in an era of, if you were fortunate enough to have a job:

No overtime

No sick pay

No 17.5% loadings

No holidays

No strikes

But what have they seen for all their hardships?

As they reached retirement age, having struggled and toiled, for most, over 50 years, contributing by way of income taxes to finally receive the Aged Pension, the real struggle began. The government, obviously believing that;

'... you entered the world with nothing, you will leave the world with nothing'

systematically and without compassion, eroded their entitlement to where today, it is but a pittance.

The government MUST realise that the welfare and care of Australia's Senior Citizens is of concern to everybody. In the past 5 years the Aged Pension has increased by a meagrely $7.50 per week.

The exceptions to the above are the salary increases, massive superannuation payouts, lurks and perks attributed to themselves - the politicians - often voted upon in the dead of night to avoid public scrutiny, to ensure their own comfortable lifestyle.

The Government Policy:

The Government is committed to maintaining the single rate of pension at 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and has included provision for this commitment in the Budget Forward Estimates.

This commitment ensures that pensioners and specified allowees share in improvements in community living standards, as measured by MTAWE. It is an important measure for women, given their high representation in pensioner groups; for example, nearly 66 per cent of age pensioners are women.

Pensions and allowances will also continue to be indexed twice a year in March and September according to movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The announcement by the Prime Minister (30/11/97), that a $1.3 billion land fund has been made available to aboriginals, who do not have legitimate land claims, is a blatant abuse of taxpayer money.

The Australian Pensioner, who HAS a legitimate claim, is ignored in favour of minority groups and foreign aid. The government does not understand the needs of our Senior Citizens or the vital role they play in our communities.

It is the right of every Australian Senior Citizen, not privilege, to enjoy the best possible health care, and must include:

Doctor of their choice

Pharmaceutical concessions

Optical services

Dental care

Podiatry care

Physiotherapy services

Chiropractic services

The government MUST implement an immediate and substantial increase to the base Pension Allowance, and review the index in real term's, not hypothetical (CPI) figures.


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Aged Care Facilities

I firmly believe Aged Care Facilities must always have a Registered Nurse (RN) on each residential wing per shift. The reasoning behind this is Enrolled Nurses (EN) do not have the same degree of knowledge of medical conditions or medications as registered nurses (RN). Enrolled nurses (EN) do not have the same knowledge to manage such things as respiratory distress, cardiac arrest, medication allergies as registered nurses.  

The facilities need to have not only a registered nurse on each shift but that registered nurse needs to have completed a post graduate certificate on aged care, as these clients have complex needs such as continence management, dietary control (manage intake and output), pressure area management, hygiene issues and emotional needs.  

The staff needs to be qualified in supporting both clients and families when palliative as well as the emotional stress that families have when placing a loved one in care. This very important role cannot be delivered by a staff member whose only qualification is a TAFE certificate, the staff need to have appropriate qualifications, as the staff members need to be able to debrief as well.  

Facilities have a duty of care both to clients and staff that they have a safe environment and have a staff client ratio that is developed and managed to provide that necessary nursing care to all clients.  

It is well documented that it is preferable to have permanent staffing or a pool of casual nursing staff in aged care facilities so that clients feel safe and secure and recognise the staff member.  

I understand that there may an occasion when it is difficult to find staff but whereever possible a casual pool could be made available of staff who have had an orientation in the unit. This provides the client with a continuum of care. 

Most clients in an aged care facility are coming to terms with being separated from family and their home and it is important that they feel secure and safe in their new environment.




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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870