NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda reflects on the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Interim report from the departure lounge of Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.
Australia, how did it come to this?
I’m sitting at Melbourne Airport, and decided to use my delayed flight time to read the snapshot of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care. For over a decade, I have known – and my union has known – that the sector has been in crisis. I have seen the stories in the newspapers. I have seen the shocking footage over time. I have seen the industry deteriorate since John Howard changed the Aged Care Act in 1997.
But nothing prepared me for this.
I saw it all laid bare in front of me, in black and white. And as I read the report, I cried – in public. Despite years of campaigning by my union, it’s been difficult to get people to understand what was happening to their parents, grandparents and friends who were in Aged Care. I cried, because I had felt like a failure. Until today.
Now it’s out there – the ugly, shameful truth of what was happening in the Aged Care sector. We as a country have a responsibility to fix this. Our frail aged should not be subject to this callous system of neglect for one more day.
Action starts today – and it starts by ensuring that this means the Morrison Government gets over its attitude towards the elderly, and starts fixing this system now.