This year, our team has very sharply felt our clients’ despair, frustration, and fatigue.
To say Tasmanians are doing it tough is an understatement and our clients tell us there is no such thing as a fair go these days. It’s a battle just to get the basics all Tasmanians deserve whether it’s a safe place to live, food to eat or access to basic medical and support services.
In 2021, the Aged Care Royal Commission made 148 recommendations, yet our clients tell us rights abuses continue. Last month the Disability Royal Commission made 222 recommendations, and what we heard through those hearings was devastating. In both Royal Commissions Tasmanians courageously told their stories in the hope that change would follow. The recent findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings have also shocked and sickened Tasmanians to the core.
And it seems every day the media expose new horrors.
The despair and grief feel unfathomable, and ever present in our lives. Urgent action must be taken to end inherently cruel and dehumanising systems and practices. Tasmanians’ rights must be protected.
This year, we’ve worked on 2538 individual advocacy issues supporting Tasmanians to resolve rights abuses. We’ve had some life-changing wins, but we are not successful every time. Regardless, we continue until all options are exhausted. If a rights abuse can be resolved, then our team are the ones to do it. I am incredibly proud of their tenacity, strength and their results.
While our advocacy practice will always be ‘Your say’ because it’s our clients’ voices that matter, we have now reinforced our brand with a new line, ‘In your corner’ because that’s where we are, firmly in our clients’ corner, working at their direction to achieve what they want.
We have continued to seek change to guardianship legislation and have successfully kept the issue front and centre in the media, lobbying politicians, writing submissions, and advocating to embed rights in draft legislation. We still haven’t achieved a supported decision-making system, but I am proud that our work has resulted in greater accountability and protections in The Guardianship and Administration Amendment Bill 2023.
In 2021 Southern Cross Care was singled out in the Aged Care Royal Commission, for all the wrong reasons. Hundreds of their residents became our clients and we tirelessly worked to resolve the many abuses ranging from neglect, poor nutrition, intimidation and more. Once again, to effect change, we had to take our message broadly to make Tasmanians aware of our clients’ experiences and we did this through media and Facebook. We worked closely with Andrew Wilkie MP who raised our clients’ voices in Federal parliament.
We wrote to the Minister and Aged care Commissioner. It worked. Within a month, both the Board Chair and CEO of Southern Cross Care had resigned. Hopefully this ushers a new era; we will be watching to make sure it does.
This is the power of advocacy.
So, no matter what is thrown at Tasmanians, no matter how difficult things looks, we are not afraid to say it as it is and to find ways to make necessary change.
Tasmanians can rest assured that we will always work to protect their rights.
Thanks for your support.
Chief Executive Officer