Letters to the editor 29th November, 2017

New England by-election

There was a lot of talk at the last election about the importance of having a parliamentary representative who was “sitting at the top table”.

Well, we had such a person for a while, and together with the others at “the top table” he gutted the schools’ funding for this region.

Of the ten poorest postcodes in the whole of Australia, five are in New England. The original Gonski needs-based funding was starting to improve the opportunities for thousands of local children in our electorate. You can ask any teacher.

But I can only assume that our former member doesn’t talk to teachers, or visit public schools. This may be why he voted to cut $26 million of future Gonski funding to schools in our electorate.

Imagine how much better our children and our community would be a few years from now with the full Gonski funding. 

Surely we all want a better and fairer world? This is in our hands, right now, as voters.

Barbara Finch


During this Federal Government's term there is probably no other group of Australian people who have been hurt more than senior Australians. Workers may come close, but we need to remember that many workers are over 50 and like it or not can be regarded as being a senior.

When this Federal government is talking about tax cuts to business workers will now have to work two extra years. This came about with the help of the Labor party. Workers who are often experiencing increasing health issues as they get older will struggle to work the extra years before they can receive a pension. The Liberal National Federal government is wanting to extend the retirement age to 70! This is unbelievable when they are offering big tax cuts to big business.

In addition to having to work longer pensioners who have part pensions have been savaged with the moving of the goal posts. With the help of Labor and the Greens the Liberal National Federal government changed the income and assets tests to reduce part pensions.On top of this changes were made to superannuation.

One would hope that governments would look after the frail and aged but when it comes to retirement villages and nursing homes short comings in both keep surfacing to showing how governments of both persuasions are not only failing these people, they are supporting privately owned institutions, some of which are multinational organisations, and their profit motive, rather than enforcing an acceptable standard of care for their residence. This situation is amply shown by both Liberal National and Labor governments, both national and state, are no longer enforcing nursing homes to have adequate numbers of registered nurses to maintain medical standards. One result of this is that public hospitals receiving more residents as patience, possibly due to incorrect medication, or the lower trained nurses being unable to medicate. An outcome is that the governments are transferring costs from private businesses to the public purse. 

With retirement villages, costs have been transferred from the village to the residents for years. It became an issue this year only after the Seniors United Party gave NSW politicians a signed petition with over two thousand signatures and the message went out through the national press that some retirement villages were "bleeding residents until they die".

With too many pensioners now living below the poverty line and pensioners expecting further assaults from a Federal government of either persuasion in coming years due to their growing numbers, there has hardly been a better time to vote in a seniors party politician to look after them. This is particularly so as there is no stand alone federal cabinet minister looking after their issues.

Bob Patrech