Category Archives: Better Aged care Better Living

Brandon Park Secondary College site development – ensure its community friendly petition

Council has informed the community about a proposed development plan for the former Brandon Park Secondary College site. Proposal for Developing buildings (3-5 storeys in height) which will be for independent retirement living, and aged care facilities. The applicant is Ryman Healthcare, which developed and operates the Weary Dunlop aged care and retirement complex in Wheelers Hill.

The Brandon Park Residents Action Group has created a petition to ensure any development on the site did not dilute the liveability of the neighbourhood, especially the loss of open space. The Petition is asking Council to ensure that Ryman Healthcare address the requirements in the Development Plan Overlay for the site, such as open space, drainage, trees, traffic and parking.

To support them please click on link provided to direct you to petition. Feedback needs to be provided to Council by 26 September 2016, so please sign petition before then.

Link to petition: Brandon Park Secondary College site development – ensure its community friendly

Related information:

Proposed Development Plan: Former Brandon Park Secondary College site

Brandon Park Residents Action Group


How To Vote – Preference Deals and Whisperers

There’s a Federal election coming soon and there’s a good deal of debate and confusion about preference distributions and the new Senate vote counting process.  This post, hopefully, will clear that up for some people and answer a few questions.  There’s more information in the FAQ section on the Australian Electoral Commission‘s website.

How Many Votes Are Needed To Be Elected?

In both the House of Representatives and the Senate the number required is calculated by the following formula:

q = 1 + f/(v+1)

Where “q” is the number of votes required (the quota), “f” is the number of formal votes cast and “v” is the number of vacancies to be filled.

In the Reps, there is only one vacancy to be filled (v=1) in a given seat so a candidate needs one vote more than half those cast – a simple majority.

In the Senate, we’ll be voting for 12 Senators from Victoria (v=12) so a candidate must get 1/13th of the formal votes plus one.  Once 12 candidates have that quota there will be 1/13th minus 12 votes available which means nobody else can beat those already elected.

How Are Votes Counted?

In order to achieve a quota all formal ballot papers are distributed to the candidate allocated the number 1 on the paper (the first preference) and then counted.  If no candidate has achieved the quota above, the candidate with fewest votes is eliminated and those papers are distributed to the remaining candidate with the next lowest preference.

In the Reps, the process continues thus until a single candidate has an absolute majority and there it stops.

In the Senate, it’s a little more complicated because we need to elect more than one Senator.  So, once a candidate attains a quota s/he is declared elected but any excess votes beyond the quota are redistributed at reduced value.  If this didn’t happen, there would not be enough votes in the pool to create 12 quotas.  (You can find the full explanation on the AEC website here:

So, let’s say the quota is 10 000 votes and Ms Bloggs achieves her quota but has 12 000 votes at that stage.  The 2000 “surplus” votes are redistributed to other, as yet unelected candidates.  But which 2000?  In fact, all 12 000 papers are now redistributed to the next preferred candidate but at a reduced value of s/q where “s” is the surplus; in this case, the transfer value would be 2000/10 000 or 0.2 – every one of Ms Bloggs’ papers would be redistributed at one fifth of its value to other candidates.

Counting continues eliminating unsuccessful candidates and redistributing their votes and the fractional surpluses of elected Senators until all 12 vacancies have been filled.

You Can’t Waste Your Vote!

It’s the redistribution process which ensures YOUR vote is not wasted if you choose an unsuccessful candidate.

Let’s say you have strong views on a specific issue and there’s an independent candidate standing on that particular issue.  “Single issue” candidates are rarely successful but if one represents your view you can indicate that to whoever is ultimately elected by giving your champion your first preference.  On the assumption that your champion is eliminated, your vote then goes to your next preference so you still influence which of the more likely contenders is elected but they receive the hint that there’s an important issue to which they should attend in the electorate.

It should be noted that in the Senate, if you select only the minimum number of preferences required (see below) and all those candidates are eliminated, your vote will be “exhausted” and won’t contribute to electing a senator.  You should consider the chances of your preferred candidates being successful when deciding how many votes to cast above or below the line since only YOU ultimately determine where your preferences go.

Party Preference Deals and Your Preference

Much has been made in recent days of preference deals being done between Labor and Liberal Parties to put each other ahead of The Greens.  Both of the major parties are worried they may not win government in their own right and may have to rely on preferences but neither likes the idea of a third party spoiling their duopoly.  You will see these deals reflected in their respective “How to Vote” cards.

“How to Vote” cards are parties’ suggestions to voters.  Apparently about 75% of voters follow HTV cards, there’s absolutely no obligation to do so – YOU number the boxes on YOUR ballot paper and YOU should do so according to YOUR preference for the various candidates and/or their parties.

In the Reps, you number ALL candidates according to your preference.

In the Senate you must number either AT LEAST six boxes above the line (there are 38 boxes plus a column of independents this year!) or AT LEAST 12 candidates below the line.  If you number only six boxes above the line and you don’t include one of the three major parties (ALP, LNP coalition or Greens) you’ll only nominate about 12 candidates and your vote will probably be exhausted before all senators are elected.  Similarly, if you choose only 12 candidates from the smaller parties below the line.  If you don’t want votes going to the major parties and you want to maximise your influence, mark more boxes.

Why, and How, Has Senate Voting Changed – The Preference Whisperer?

At the last Senate election a number of minor candidates and parties got together with a “preference whisperer”.  They agreed on a series of “group voting tickets” which were so constructed that a single “1” vote above the line (the old way of voting) channelled all their preferences to the same place.  As each of these less likely candidates were eliminated their votes flowed together to elect, most famously, Senator Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party.

Some people have argued that this meant he was elected on fewer first preferences than others who were eliminated and that’s true.  However, it’s also true that a full “quota” of voters indicated, whether they knew it (having researched their nominated party’s group voting ticket) or not, they would rather have him than anyone else.

Under the new Senate voting rules parties are no longer permitted to create group voting tickets and votes at the top of a column distribute preferences down the column then stop – a party or group on the ballot paper cannot cause preferences to flow to any other party or group.  This makes it somewhat harder for minor candidates to get elected but it also makes it clear to voters exactly where your vote is going.  Some candidates have formed voting blocs already to be listed in the same column – that’s legal and it’s transparent to voters.

It’s worth noting too that if you want to vote for the “ungrouped” independent candidates in the Senate, firstly they are at the far right of the ballot paper and, secondly, you must vote below the line as they don’t have a box above the line.

Who Are the Monash Candidates?

The City of Monash is in Victoria for the Senate.  You can find the list of all 38 groups and 16 independent Senate candidates on the AEC site here.

Four House of Representatives seats overlap the City of Monash boundaries: Bruce, Chisholm, Higgins and Hotham.


The declared candidates for each of the electorates are shown below in the order in which they will appear on the ballot paper.


Researching the Candidates

Later this week I hope to write an open letter to all candidates listed above and invite them to comment on issues of importance to readers of this blog.  Their answers will be published verbatim and without commentary.

Issues for their feedback will come from any comments received on this post and questions about Aged Care, Refugees and Immigration, and Environment policy.

An aged care service opening their doors to community participation!

Community Engagement
Community Engagement – Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Uniting AgeWell have decided to implement a Community Advisory Committee (ACAC) where community members have an opportunity to participate and play a role in improving aswell as planning for future services. They provide home care, independent and assisted living, respite, residential care and community therapy programs.

Community advisory committees are usually implemented at Hospital or Community Health services. They are monitored against a mandatory Standard 2: Partnering with consumers. This ensures that consumers or community members play a role in the decision making and to improve the safety and quality of care provided. More info: Partnering with Consumers Standard 2 Factsheet

Aged Care facilities do not have to follow this standard and operate consumer committees but Uniting AgeWell has decided to  implement one and set up a consumer register. They are probably one of the first to establish such a committee. 

I cannot stress how important it is for aged care facilities or providers to implement these types of committees as it will ensure transparency and accountability, as well as community members advocating for people who use these services. I would like to see other aged care providers implement these committees. It is also a good example of the ‘Doing it with us not for us’ Victorian government’s policy on consumer, carer and community participation. Standard 2: Partnering with consumers should be implemented for aged care providers and made mandatory. 

If you would like to participate in the AgeWell Committee Advisory Committee you can contact contact Nickie Arthur on  9862 0076 or by  email at

An induction and orientation program will be provided and training through the Health Issues Centre for appointed members. Source – Giving older people a voice.

Want to know about your role in the committee? Click on link provided to direct you to their handbook. AgeWell Community Advisory Committee Handbook.

What does the community think about implementing a mandatory Standard 2: Partnering with consumers

If you would like to advocate for this to happen you can send a letter to Hon MP Sussan Ley, Minster for Health and Aged Care asking for this standard to be implemented  to ensure transparency and accountability in aged care facilities or services.

If you are aware of other aged care providers who run consumer advisory committees and not attached to hospitals, please let us know by contacting us.

Links to more information about consumer committees

Consumer Health Forum

Health Issues Centre

Participation and Communication

Our Health, Our Community

Links to other services with committee participants

Monash Health

Link Health and Community

Eastern Health

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner New Website!


The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner new website is now running!

An independent complaints system was implemented and hopefully concerns will be managed appropriately and efficiently. Independent Aged Care Complaints arrangements [152.8 kB]

They have a variety of resources or information for the community, especially on raising a concern about an aged care provider. Have a look at their ‘How aged care advocacy can help you’ factsheet –

Fact sheet – How aged care advocacy can help you –

“Advocacy is defined as ‘the process of standing alongside an individual who is disadvantaged and speaking out on their behalf in a way that represents the best interests of that person.’ An advocate will assist the person receiving aged care to achieve the best outcome for them.”

The Elder Rights Advocacy is the service for Victorians who receive an aged care service that is funded by the Australian Government. Please contact them if you feel that you need support in raising a concern or you feel that your concern has not been taken seriously by your aged care provider.

Elder Rights Advocacy

Update! Increasing Choice in Home Care – Stage 1

Source: My Aged Care
Source: My Aged Care

In October 2015 there was an opportunity to provide feedback on stage 1 home care reforms to provide funding for a home care package, where the consumer will have more flexibility on the choice of provider – Increasing Choice in Home Care – Stage 1.

A webinar/webcast was held on the 19 October 2015 to discuss the changes and viewers to ask any questions on the changes. To view the webinar please click on link provided – Increasing Choice in Home Care Webiner. 

From July 2018, the Government will combine the Home Care Packages Programme and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme into a single care at home programme to make it easier to provide services. 

More links:

Older australians will have more choice in services 

More choice and better care for older Australian –  my aged care

Watch this blog  for more updates!

Older Australians will have more choice in services!

The Australian Government announced there will be changes to improve the way home care services are provided to older people. The changes will be introduced in two stages.

From February 2017, funding for a home care package will be provided to a consumer and will be more flexibility on the choice of provider.

From July 2018, the Government will combine the Home Care Packages Programme and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme into a single care at home programme to make it easier to provide services.

Consumers, providers and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback and be involved in the implementation. A public discussion paper is expected to be available in October.

Have a say! Take control of your own care!

Please click on factsheet provided for further details.

Increasing choice for older Australians Image
Source: Increasing choice for older Australians Source: Department of Social Services

Should Aged Care facilities have registered nurses on duty 24/7?

Aged careA State Parliamentary Committee accepted submissions on an inquiry for the need for registered nurses in NSW aged care facilities for residents who require a high level of care. Click on link:  Detailed Inquiry document.


You can also read more about it by clicking on link provided to direct you to this article:

Inquiry to investigate how aged care residents will fare without registered nurses on duty 24/7

An inquiry will examine how aged care residents will be affected if registered nurses are not rostered on all shifts.
An inquiry will examine how aged care residents will be affected if registered nurses are not rostered on all shifts. (ABC News)

An inquiry will examine how New South Wales’ most vulnerable aged care residents will fare in a future without registered nurses on duty at all times.

Aged Care Crisis submitted their response to the inquiry. They recommend that the  “state based Public Health Act 201031 should be amended accordingly until the federal Aged Care Act 1997 is amended to specify all nursing homes with high care residents should be staffed at all times by at least one registered nurse.”
Link to their submission: Aged Care Crisis Submission
Want to know more about Aged Care Crisis:

Submissions from other organisations click link provided: Submissions to Registered nurses in New South Wales nursing homes.

I agree that all aged care facilities with high care residents should be staffed at all times by at least one registered nurse!

Some residents have complex care needs and should be monitored by a registered nurse at all times. These resident’s are human beings and should be cared for appropriately, with qualified staff and with dignity.  There have been many cases where resident’s have been put at risk without qualified staff. We need more nurses, not less!




Quality in aged care – Better Practice Melbourne 2015

Better Practice conference

Melbourne — Complaints Scheme presentation — Friday 29 May 2015 ‘

Conference summary

This two-day conference is suitable for CEOs, management and senior staff in aged care – both residential aged care and home care.

With this year’s theme, Quality – Through the looking glass, we are asking you to reflect on yourselves, on what the term ‘quality’ means, and how you deliver quality for your care recipients. By at first looking within, we can look through the looking glass to a vision for the future. Look within, before looking out.

Our keynote speakers include ABC personality Dr Norman Swan who will speak on Quality in aged care, whose problem is it? How consumers can be partners; and Dr Jenny Basran, Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, who will speak on how technology can bring quality to another level.

via Better Practice Melbourne 2015 – Conference summary | Online Registration by Cvent.


Aged Care

There is an Australia wide crisis in aged care which is expected to worsen as the current ‘baby boomers’ age and the demand for aged care increases.  Many elderly people are not safe or well cared for.  Quality care for every elderly person is a social responsibility.  It is your responsibility and mine.

Many supporters of Empowering Monash and YOU oppose the sell off of public aged care. There is a high risk of a decline in quality as public ownership shrinks.  Council and state government owned facilities have typically set benchmarks in many areas including staff conditions (including working hours and salaries), staff profiles, Lifestyle programs and providing places for those with a welfare need.  What will be the benchmarks once public ownership has gone?

In 2013 the Monash Community overtly demonstrated it values quality in the care of elderly and vulnerable citizens by actively demonstrating against the sale of Monash Council owned aged care facilities.  The Council sold despite the protest.

Empowering Monash and YOU will advocate for the best quality aged care, both residential and in the home, for people in the municipality and beyond.

If there are to be reforms, legislators must know the community is demanding them.

As elderly rights are being eroded with very few safeguards available ‒ each of which are very expensive to exercise ‒ one must make a stand to prevent the aged care system becoming the ‘brave new world’, where people with ‘expired use-by dates’ are helplessly locked up in with no rights and dignity. Becoming aged now leads to dispossession in regards to the stripping of rights and property. The elderly can no longer be considered citizens with rights.

Source:,6070 accessed 11 Feb 2014