Bring back the fair go
Nurses and midwives were prominent at the launch of the ACTU’s marginal seat campaign for the federal election to be held on 18 May.
Union members in the NSW seats of Banks, Reid, Gilmore and Robertson are talking to their communities about what is required to build a fairer and stronger Australia.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the federal election gives Australian workers the opportunity to help build a fairer Australia.
“To change the rules, we need to change the government. We will do this by talking to as many people as we can about which political parties have and which have not committed to a fair go for working people,” she said.
“We want to live in a country where people have jobs they can count on and fair pay rises.
“The Morrison Government and big business are standing in the way of secure jobs and fair pay rises, and the union movement is ready to restore the fair go.
“One conversation at a time, we’re ready to take action to change the government and win more secure jobs and fair pay rises.”
Candidates urged to stand up for aged care
Central Coast nurse Michelle Cashman works in a public hospital but she supports aged care staffing ratios as an issue that should be top of mind in this federal election.
Michelle, the NSWNMA delegate at Long Jetty Continuing Care Centre, promoted the NSWNMA and ANMF aged care ratios campaign when she spoke at an ACTU “Change the Rules” rally in Gosford, in the federal seat of Robertson.
“A decent aged care system is vital to me as a community member, registered nurse and NSWNMA councillor,” she said.
“Nurses know that ratios are the safest way to provide care to residents and ensure staff can cope with the demands put on them.”
The Labor candidate for Robertson, Anne Charlton, and Greens candidate Cath Connor have signed a pledge to support mandatory aged care ratios but the Liberal member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, has not.
Following the rally, Michelle and other local nurses went to Ms Wicks’ office to deliver 94 letters signed by local residents in support of aged care ratios.
“The Central Coast has a lot of residential aged care facilities and it’s time our politicians stood up for aged care residents and the people who look after them,” Michelle said.
“The aged care campaign isn’t just for nursing home staff and residents in aged care; it affects all aspects of health.
“Facilities don’t have enough staff to look after people who need help to do basic things like sit up in bed, go to the bathroom, and eat.
“Failure to properly staff aged care facilities means the symptoms of deteriorating health are often missed. The consequences can be devastating.
“Residents often need to be transferred to emergency departments to be treated for something that could have been recognized and treated earlier by a qualified nurse in aged care.
“This is detrimental not only for the resident and their family but also for our already overloaded emergency departments and public hospitals.”
Train commuters get the message
NSWNMA member Cassandra Barford joined a large group of “Change the Rules” campaign volunteers handing out leaflets at Revesby railway station in south-western Sydney, in the Banks electorate.
“About 15 volunteers turned up, which shows the enthusiasm for a new government that is on the side of working people,” Cassandra said.
Among the volunteers was Emma Malone, a RN in emergency who came to the station after night shift.
Cassandra said the reaction from commuters was mostly positive.
“I had never leafleted at a station before and there was a real mix of people on the platform.
Even if they disagree with you, it gives you a chance to give them something new to think about.
“I don’t ever discount the impact that having a civil and respectful discussion can have on changing people’s minds.”
Cassandra said she joined the campaign because,”I believe in social justice and equity. I’m worried about issues such as wage stagnation and casualisation of the workforce.”
“For nursing, getting staffing ratios in aged care is the biggest issue for this election.
“Some nursing homes employ just one RN who is supposed to provide adequate care for as many as 75 residents.”