Aged Care Backpedal? Will Govt. Keep Its Promises?

Don Williams and David Jones met in 1978. On June 17, 2008 ­– 30 years later – they were legally married. pic by Marc Love

There are fears that the government is about to renege on it’s pre-election commitments to the gay community in respect of aged care. Mitch Fifield, the junior minister in charge of the Age Care portfolio, is refusing to confirm that there will be no changes.

Daniel Hurst reports in The Age/Morning Herald:

Tony Abbott’s Aged Care Minister has refused to reveal the future of a federal strategy to ensure gay and lesbian residents are treated with respect, including $2.5 million earmarked for ”sensitivity training”.

The government is also tight-lipped on whether it will move to reverse recent legal changes that banned faith-based aged-care facilities from using a religious exemption to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex residents.

Before the last election Senator Scott Ryan assured the gay community that the removal of religious exemptions in respect of aged care would stay, as would the strategy put in place in the last days of the Labor government.

“When the removal of the religious exemption went through parliament, the Coalition didn’t oppose that, and we have no intention of, we won’t be touching it, that’ll remain in place. With regard to the {LGBTI] Health & Ageing Strategy more generally, the coalition is committed to maintaining it. . . . .  with respect to Aged Care we’re not going to touch the law as it stands now.”

Listen to the full interview below.

It is to be hoped that the extremist Catholic ideology of the senior minister here, Kevin Andrews, is not beginning to pollute his department.


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)