Empowering Monash & YOU given thumbs up at Save Monash Gardens meeting


Last night an enthusiastic crowd at the Save Monash Gardens Dinner and Meeting in Mulgrave gave the overwhelming go ahead to move forward with this blog, Empowering Monash & YOU, and to form a group to enable those without web access to participate.

The three major categories: Aged Care, Local Governance and Inclusivity were agreed to.

The meeting was attended by residents & staff  from Monash Gardens, relatives of residents from Monash Gardens and Elizabeth Gardens and community members.

SMG Dinner 270214
Jacki – welcome to SMG dinner
SMG Dinner
Eating, laughing and much planning

Georgia – a strong campaign
Gayle – will we move on together?

Thank you to a strong community group – passion, determination and hearts of gold.



Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

If you would like information on the Aged Care reform and changes to the means testing or how the cost of care is calculated, this article will be beneficial to you.  

” Major changes to the way the cost of aged care is calculated start on July 1. For people moving into an aged care facility, the most significant shift is the way means testing works. For people who remain in their own home and receive care, the big change is the formalisation of means testing.”

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/money/planning/finding-the-cost-of-care-20140225-33dkl.html#ixzz2uULy0tZF

If anyone has anything else to add to this please feel free to comment.

Councillors’ Failed Report Card

I was not at the meeting and this has given me an overview of the meeting. This is very well done. Thank you!
However it is sad to see that Monash Council still need to improve in some areas

Monash Ratepayers Inc.

MRI Letter to Monash Councillors

Dear Councillors

Your performance in Tues Council meeting went reasonably well, until you had to bring personal bickering and party politics’ abuses into Council affairs. By doing this, you also showed contempt to the code of conduct through your disrespectful and what we see as pre-orchestrated behaviours. This is not the first time for many of you, you have often repeated many similar incidents in past.

 Is it because you are bored of mandate debates and like some entertainment for all, making the Council meeting a circus show?

 While you achieved entertainment and political scoring, you failed in meeting the Council meeting experience expectations of your constituents. We will continue to progressively monitor your governance performance in future Council meetings and other public activities.

To see full details of report card, click here.

25 Feb Council Meeting Report Card

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Music, traditional dress and food for thought

The Clayton Street Festival gives the people of Monash the opportunity to participate socially in their multicultural community.  Food, music and tradional costumes are a main focus.

The Parade

Australian Youth Band
Australian Youth Band
Thai group
Thai group

2014-02-23 16.05.10



For us the most interesting and educative part of the time we spent at the Festival was the Hawkers Market, an addition to the Festival this year.  Refugees from Africa spoke of their experiences as children before moving to Australia.  Talented performers shared raps and poems that told true stories and challenged ways of thinking.

Mariam Issa spoke of forming a ‘village’ with other women in Melbourne: RAW Austalia in East Brighton.

Mariam Issa
‘resilient aspiring women’
Bolivian Band
Bolivian Band

Participation in such festivals can lead to reflection about our traditions and values and where we live.  The following quote from Nicholas C Burbules is food for thought:

One of the primary features of this world is the growing awareness of difference itself; we are beginning to appreciate that questions about where those differences come from and how they come to mean what they do to different groups raise
fundamental questions in turn about the world, and about why we have come to settle on one account of it as opposed to another, depending on who we are and where we live. It is to recognize that much about our own systems of difference can be seen, from other points of view, as strange and exotic in the same way that other systems of difference appear to us. This does not necessarily lead to relativism, in my view; but it does lead to appreciating the arbitrariness of at least part of what we take for granted about ourselves and about others, along with the realization that from within another frame of reference those assumptions will appear quite different. “Multiculturalism,” in this sense, is as much about a critical reflection on our own culture, our art, our science, our ethics, and so on, as it is about the exploration of others’ beliefs.

Burbules NC Deconstructing “Difference” and the difference this makes to education Philosophy of Education 19 6 p114-123 http://ojs.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/pes/article/view/2251/946 accessed 24 Feb 2014

You are welcome to share your day at the Festival & thoughts – click on ‘Leave a Comment’ above (under the post title) to do this.

ANMF: Monash aged care protest sets precedent for sell offs

The ANMF has stated the protests in Monash have set a higher level of accountability for the ANMF_logoVictorian Government as it proposes to sell off public owned aged care residences.

Many involved in the protests against the sale of aged care in Monash also oppose the further sell off of public owned aged care.

The public aged care sector is already too small to maintain the balance of ownership required to maintain quality standards within the industry.  The proposed sell off of more residences by the Napthine Government puts quality benchmarks and staffing standards at greater risk.  This will even have more impact in an industry that is already in crisis Australia wide.

article from ANMF web site 180214
Click on image for larger version or visit URL below

Source:  http://anmfvic.asn.au/news/44385.html accessed 19 Feb 2014

Related links:

Oppose Public Aged Care Sell Off by Victorian Government

ANMF Resolutions re aged care sale 20 Jan 2014

Support from ANMF Vic Branch

EM&U Media Release 19 Feb 14

Empowering Monash & YOU
Media Release 19 February 2014

Website Bannerv6

Online Community network emerges from Monash Community unrest

The selling of Monash Gardens and Elizabeth Gardens by Monash Council has divided Council and community. Never in the history of Monash, has the poor governance process of Council been exposed by a strong, relentless and public community campaign.   An early expression of community restlessness is the creation of the web blog Empowering Monash and YOU(EM&U).

The unique nature of this successful public campaign was characterised by:

  •  A group of leaders who had no previous experience of politics
  • Rallying of family, friends and community members
  • Active Engagement of senior and elderly citizens
  • Much local and mainstream media news coverage
  • Involvement of churches and other community groups
  • Support from Members of Parliament extending across the three major parties
  • Encouragement and input from independent aged care advocacy groups
  • Support from the nurses and health workers unions

The Council hoped to lessen the damage of going ahead with its sale by selling to a quality ‘not for profit’ provider.  The community is welcoming the provider but it is still aggravated about the leadership and performance of Monash Council.

The context of empowerment is in line with the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) guidelines – a standard adopted by Monash Council but apparently poorly understood or implemented.

Through the web blog EM&U people from diverse backgrounds will share mutual interests and goals, their experiences and commentaries of local governance and compliance, the different quality of their engagement with Council and their evaluation of Council meeting performance. They will advocate for affordable and quality aged care in Monash and nearby communities. The web-blog promotes inclusivity and shares lessons learnt.

Empowering Monash and YOU Team Members:

Gayle Nicholas                  Dr Chan Cheah                  Hariklia Nguyen

STAFF CONCERNED! Monash and Elizabeth Gardens staff jobs and care at risk?

Aged care staff

In today’s Waverley leader (18/02/2014) it states that staff are concerned that the new  Monash and Elizabeth Gardens Aged Care provider will not provide the same working conditions as Monash Council.  They have every right to be concerned and the provider should provide them with answers. They need to consider the care of the residents as changes to staffing levels or conditions can affect the care of these residents.

Mayor Geoff stated that the council does not agree with ANMF that staff are concerned. You will find that many staff  and community members will disagree with this statement. Has the Council or Geoff Lake visited the facility lately before making this statement?

Pip Carew ANMF speaks about the impact of the sale on staff

Monash Council promised that the same level care or above will be provided by the new provider. To achieve this staff levels or conditions should not be changed.                                                                           “A key reason why Royal Freemasons has been selected following the tender process is because it is able to provide a standard of care at least as good – and if not better – than that provided by Council.” http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/news/media2014/aged_care_facilities.htm

Will the council breach their promise made to the community and the aged care residents? What are the community’s thoughts on this?

You can provide your feedback or leave a comment by clicking the ‘LEAVE A COMMENT’ button on top of post.



Defining Conduct & Ethics

High community expectations
High community expectations

A good lesson learnt from the Aged Care campaign against the Monash Council’s proposal to sell aged care is that people are direct and clear about their high expectations of Councillors’ conduct and ethical behaviours. High standards are expected to be shown by Councillors in all aspects of their public duties.

For too long, Monash Councillors have demonstrated a high sense of freedom and autocracy in what they can do for and to the community. Times are changing, and the days of what many people believe is a despotic, partisan and often nebulous leadership in Council, are very numbered. People led change in Local Government  has started and is proceeding with an unstoppable momentum.

So what are the high standards of conduct and ethics the people of Monash are not just expecting but actually demanding from all Councillors, especially the Mayor, and Council management? Here is a snapshot:

What makes Good Councillors

These conduct and ethical behavior standards will redefine the current ‘I‘ centred culture and leadership style of this Council, to a new one that is community centred. It will no longer support what the Council can do for and to its people, but do it WITH its people. No more groupthink domination, autocratic imposition, hiding the business cases, closed meetings, bending the house rules and laws and unfocused opinionated and emotionally persuasive rationality/debates in decision making/ Council meeting discussions.

It will also require all Councillors and Administration staff to:

IAP2 Standard

  • Understand and accept that the people of Monash want engagement that gives them the opportunity of involvement, collaboration and empowerment. Council can no longer restrict and control their interactions with its people just based on controlling community engagement that merely informs and receiving peoples’  feedback from community consultation.

Inevitable Change

Monash Networks of Influence
Monash Networks of Influence

The people have lifted the bar high for Monash Council in community engagement. The Monash community is self empowered and coordinated as demonstrated by this expansive virtual community platform.

High Standards & ExpectationsA new cultural shift in Council conduct and leadership is happening. People are becoming well informed, connected and self helping to ensure their civil entitlements to social democracy and inclusive participation in civic / Council matters.

The last and best part is that the State Government has recently legislated reforms in Local Government and is providing tools that communities can also use to increase transparency, accountability and performance in their Councils. Simply put, we now have the official “community governance” tools that we can use to contribute to changing Monash Council for the better. Watch this space grow……

Community Governance Capacity Building

Author Bio: The author has over 10 years in developing, implementing and overseeing corporate governance systems and best practice standards for top 500 companies. She keeps abreast of latest advances and research in corporate governance, especially in government and sustainability applications.

CALD = Interfaith Respect

Interfaith DialogueThe Monash Mayor, Cr Geoff Lake, apparently lacks Culturally and Linguistically Diversity (CALD) intelligence.

His Twitter remark: “There’s many core challenges for local govt to focus on rather than being side-tracked by these sorts of debates” is ridiculous. GL TweetHis tweet is in response to a Herald Sun article  debating of having an opening official prayer in Council when they are already doing a similar New Age modified spiritual ritual of acknowledging traditional indigenous owners.

CALD = Interfaith Awareness & Respect
CALD = Interfaith Awareness & Respect

CALD intelligence incorporates knowing that spiritual faith plays an important role in many communities. Debating whether to include prayer and/or acknowledgement of local indigenous tribes makes sense in a multicultural society, where cultural beliefs and values are intertwined with spiritual principles.

 Cr Lake’s remark disregards respect for encompassing diversity in spiritual faith differences –  prayer rituals do encompass interfaith and extend beyond Christianity….

Culture Clash 2Empowering Monash & YOU reasonably expects the Mayor of Monash to give more cross culturally aware and inter-faith inclusive responses.

 Please let us know what you think by using the ‘LEAVE A COMMENT’ button above this posting.

Oppose public aged care sell off by Victorian government

The Victorian Government has called for interest in participation in a PSRACS Reallocation Provider Panel with a view to disposing of Public Sector Residential Aged Care Services (PSRACS).

The call does not provide any reassurance for consumers of aged care or the community in general. Both land and buildings may be disposed of.  Detailed information is behind commercial in confidence.

The document fails to:

  • substantiate the need to sell
  • mention quality standards or benchmarks
  • consider the impact on aged care residents and the community
  • demonstrate that is more than a simple ‘money grab’ by the government

The acknowledgement in the document of bond increases (see quote below) will be alarming to aged care residents who cannot afford the high bond prices charged by many providers.  Increasing bonds to provide accommodation for ‘baby boomers’ a large proportion on whom do not have the means to pay for aged care accommodation is flawed planning.

Reallocation of these aged care places:
► Will involve the transfer of PSRACS places to alternative service providers
► May or may not involve the transfer of land and buildings, and other vacant land held by the Department
► May involve the transfer of accommodation bonds, related liabilities and the potential for accommodation bond uplifts
► Will be subject to all necessary approvals by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. Other Commonwealth agencies that provide regulatory oversight include the Aged Care Commissioner,
Aged Care Complaints Scheme and the Aged Care Standard and Accreditation Agency (from 1 January 2014 will be known as the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency).

Reducing the number of public aged care providers is a serious risk to benchmarking standards for quality care including staffing profiles.

Department of Health  Invitation to Register for Panel: Summary Information PSRACS Provider Panel

Empowering Monash & You will consider publishing details of protests and other materials against the sale of public owned aged.  care.  Email details to:    xx

Related links:
Jenny Mikakos MP opposes sale of public owned aged care
ANMF & HWU oppose sale of public owned aged care