Aged Care - Whose Responsibility?

Download files
Access & Terms of Use
open access
In March 1982, as a contribution to Senior Citizens' Week, the University of New South Wales sponsored an open symposium under the title "Age Care Whose Responsibility?". The symposium was attended by approximately 200 people and the papers presented that evening were both informative and provocative. The papers are not definitive statements about research findings, but rather reflect interests and concerns of the authors, and they highlight a small part of contemporary debates in social gerontology. As four papers given by four individuals there was, of course, no attempt to develop a unified theme. This is evident, for example, in the way in which the political dimensions of public allocations are discussed. The opening paper makes the point that if ageing is seen as a problem, it is a political problem, first and foremost, and we have not yet understood how to legitimize the claims made by elderly people and find a political resolution of allocative mechanisms. The second paper points out that allocations are the result of partisan political debate and as such are subject to uncertainty, which can breed fear among aged people whose options are limited. Jamrozik suggests as a possible solution the establishment of an Income Maintenance Commission which would operate outside party political boundaries. In the third paper, Peter Sinnett goes a step further and argues strongly for the depoliticization of provisions in health and welfare. He argues that the strongest groups, the most articulate and those able to express their interests win in the political stakes, at the expense of the most disadvantaged and also at the expense of equitable co-ordinated services. What we need, says Sinnett, is moral leadership, not political leadership. Ian Webster's paper examines the creation of dependency, and his inverse law of need again highlights the political dimension of resource allocation. The "law" states that (a) for the individual, access to services decreases with increasing needs (unmet need is compounded), (b) for communities, the number of aged persons in need is inversely proportional to services provided.
Persistent link to this record
Link to Publisher Version
Link to Open Access Version
Additional Link
Graycar, Adam
Conference Proceedings Editor(s)
Other Contributor(s)
Corporate/Industry Contributor(s)
Publication Year
Resource Type
Working Paper
Degree Type
download Reports and Proceedings No 20.pdf 1.89 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
Related dataset(s)