The unfolding horror story could have been prevented if the government had listened to residents, families and staff

In 2018, soon after the federal government had announced yet another inquiry into aged care, I bumped into the health minister, Greg Hunt, who was jogging on the local boardwalk. I stopped him to ask why we needed another inquiry. Surely the government was aware of the systemic problems in the aged care sector. I told him I thought our aged care system was a national disgrace. Hunt disagreed, claiming Australia had a “world-class” aged care system.

The federal government claims repeatedly that a consumer-driven, free market-based residential aged care system will provide world-class care. This is consistent with its neoliberal agenda. However, the so-called “consumers” are often frail, elderly people, many with dementia. How can they demand a high-quality service on the free market?

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