Melbourne’s “larrikin priest” Father Bob Maguire joined COTA and other groups at the Fair Go For Pensioners rally yesterday to remind the Victorian government that it is getting increasingly difficult for pensioners to make ends meet.
Close to 200 people joined the rally, which also featured speakers from the Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition, including Marion Lau (Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria), George Zangalis (Ethnic Radio 3ZZZ) and COTA Victoria President Elizabeth Jensen.
COTA President Elizabeth Jensen told the rally Australia is entering a critical time in which we must avoid increasing inequality and victim blaming.
“Age discrimination can be said to be the greatest problem facing older people, in as much as it interferes with or blocks recognition, enjoyment, exercise, all the fundamental human rights and freedoms. Hence older people are exposed to poverty and a lack of visibility.
Tweeting before the rally, Father Bob said “parliament means something about talking, so let’s talk” – and the theme of building links across the community was picked up by COTA President Elizabeth Jensen.
“We need to forge links with younger people and their issues. We should show support for increasing the Newstart allowance,” she said.
Elizabeth Jensen said COTA members have identified five key issues for the forthcoming Federal election:
Health: access to quality health care and private health insurance and end of life and palliative care.
Aged care: Move towards entitlement and stop rationing.
Employment: A call for a National Mature Workforce Plan and earlier intervention for mature aged jobseekers.
Cost of living: Newstart increase; affordable housing especially for older single women in the private rental market.
Age discrimination: Legislation to be strengthened and a campaign to combat ageism.