Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2981 ..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
Planning does come into it. It is interesting to me that someone who is far off from making decisions for his old age does not understand that we actually have to look after the senior citizens today because one day we are going to be those same senior citizens. We do not want to be chucked out on a heap and treated as though we are insignificant. They are also voters, may I add, but we tend to forget that-they also vote. It is not only the 18 to 55s who vote; our senior citizens are very important.
I would not mind doing a poll, Mr Cornwell, through you, Mr Speaker, to find out how many of those votes went each way at the last election. That would be interesting. Anyway, I will not support Mr Corbell's amendment. I will support Mr Cornwell's motion, and I commend him once again and thank the chamber.
MRS BURKE (6.27): Mr Speaker, I would like to speak to the motion as a whole, including the two amendments, if I can.
MR SPEAKER: You can speak to them all.
MRS BURKE: Okay, I will go for it.
MR SPEAKER: It is a smorgasbord.
MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I certainly congratulate my colleague Mr Cornwell and welcome his bringing this matter to the attention of this place today. We cannot have such important issues simply being pushed under the carpet, or the blame game coming into play once more.
Mr Cornwell has outlined many statistics-and I will not go through those-and examples of the problems. We are all aware of the problems, even the minister it would seem. I do have some concerns in that I have heard, only recently, of two residents who gave up working in order to look after elderly parents who cannot access aged care facilities in this city, and a third woman who works in Sydney and has been extremely distressed by the fact that the only aged care place her father could access was in Sydney. He does not want to move there. It is a very distressing situation. Those are just a few examples.
The fact is that beds have been allocated by the Commonwealth, and my colleague Mr Cornwell alluded to those 201 phantom places. The Commonwealth is doing its bit; the territory, and particularly this government and the minister, have to face up to the responsibility.
Mr Speaker, this is the capital city, for heaven's sake. When are we going to hear less rhetoric and have more action? We have heard all the excuses but we need action. People need answers yet again. This government has played petty politics with this issue for too long and who suffers? Once more, the community. This government are becoming past masters at twisting the facts to suit their inaction. It is not good enough.
Why is this government letting down our elderly? One day we are all going to be there, some of us sooner than others, but we will not go there. This has huge impacts on the rest of the families involved and the broader community, many of whom I see