Geoff Keating says seniors want to know they will be looked after.
Geoff Keating says seniors want to know they will be looked after.

Seniors vote could change election

SITTING in the waiting room of a Toowoomba hospital, with his wife in the first stages of labour, Maranoa Labor candidate Geoff Keating may have been pondering early life, but the Daily News turned his attention to the electorate’s older citizens to ask what he and his party were doing to entice their vote.

According to some seniors’ groups, the older population makes up 45 per cent of the Australian electorate. Of that, 25 percent or 1.5 million are undecided.

Over a cup of coffee and a chat with Warwick Senior Citizens members last week, the message was clear: the Rose City’s older residents in the run-up to the election are still in two minds about who will best represent them in government. We put the question to Mr Keating.

“Health care is one of the biggest issues. Older Australians need the security of knowing if they are in a position where they need care, they can get it,” he said.

The 27-year-old politician may not have the physical years of life experience, but he told the Daily News he constantly drew from the wealth of information possessed by his older family members, neighbours and other seniors he met along the way.

“My grandma used to always tell me education for older people was important, and I used to think, ‘that’s crazy, that’s for young people.’ But older Australians feel safer if they know young people will look after them in their old age.”

Meanwhile LNP’s Bruce Scott said his party’s Aged Care Provider Agreement would set the framework for aged care in Australia.

As part of the policy, the party proposes to convert 3000 allocated bed licenses to operational aged care beds.

“This will reduce the pressure on hospitals and emergency units,” he told the Daily News.

According to Mr Scott, 2012 would also be the year of “Meals on Wheels” to acknowledge the “great work” of volunteers who serve up to 50,000 meals daily to people who are living at home.

The Greens’ candidate, Grant Newson, said his party’s $4.3 billion dental care pledge would provide low cost dentistry for everyone, and would appeal to the older electorate. He said the party also wanted to see an increase in federal funding for aged care places in rural areas.


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