The Benevolent Society works in partnership with National Seniors Australia on the Fix Pension Poverty campaign. In the lead up to the 2019 election, the campaign worked with community groups, local leaders, Members of Parliament and other candidates in electorates across Australia. Dr Marlene Krasovitsky, as the Director of Campaigns for Older Australians at the Benevolent Society, oversaw much of this work.
"The Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians gave us two opportunities in the Fix Pension Poverty campaign that we otherwise wouldn't have had, and ultimately made the campaign more effective. We had to make sure that we were working in communities where these were real and pressing issues for people, and where we thought people were more likely to be supportive of the recommendations we were campaigning for. We had to have those communities alongside us. So the Index was one of the data points we used when we did our electorate targeting in the lead up to the campaign."
"The other use of the Index was to give us relevant, local information when we were talking to people about where they live. We spent over a year in places like Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Lismore, Murwillumbah and Adelaide giving presentations to community groups and service clubs. We spoke with Local Councils and local community service providers, and faith groups including the Bishop of Lismore. These were really diverse groups in very different communities, but they all had a common question: ‘how is this affecting older people in our community?’ We had to have the answer to that. We did numerous local media stories and journalists were constantly asking us for the local angle.
"Ultimately, we were building community support for the campaign that we could take to local Representatives and other candidates. We had to be able to speak to the experiences of people in those specific electorates, and with the Index we could go beyond the case studies and anecdotes that we heard along the way and back them up with rigorous data.
“I’d definitely recommend that anyone campaigning on the issues faced by older people have a look at the Index of wellbeing for Older Australians.”