WHO WE ARE
Our organisation’s mission is to be the voice of people living on a pension or superannuation. We advocate for a better a deal for all older people living in Queensland.
We are a non-profit, non-party-political, membership association serving pensioners of all ages, superannuants and low-income retirees. We aim to improve the standard of living and well-being of members and non-members alike.
This aim is achieved by engaging with all levels of government and keeping informed about issues affecting older people in the state of Queensland, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island elders, culturally and linguistically diverse persons and disadvantaged persons.
APSL’s mission is to give a voice to those we represent whilst promoting their well-being, security and dignity. The APSL State Office is located in the Brisbane suburb of West End and provides members and the community with advocacy, information and referral services.
A TOUCH OF HISTORY
The League was formed in 1945 by widows, both war and civilian. This was at a time when such a thing as the widows’ pension was not available. Widowed women were expected to get manual work such as washing floors, cooking or cleaning, or taking in boarders for extra income. Headed by Marjorie Noonan, these women lobbied the government and rallied in front of parliament, until the widows’ pension was introduced.
It was a humble start to the organisation. Meetings would be held in members’ houses. When the objectives and aims were finally developed, the organisation rapidly grew in strength throughout the state. As news spread throughout Queensland, branches formed both in regional and rural areas. Other pensioner groups throughout Australia also formed around this time. Later people realised that a National Body should be formed to protect pensioners’ rights at a national level.
The League’s first headquarters at Red Hill burnt down in 1984. All equipment and records of the organisation were lost in the fire. Since then, the State Office of the League has been based at Kurilpa Hall in West End. The desire to do something for the aged and the deprived people of the state spurred members on to achieve the impossible.
Some of our achievements over the years include:
• Upgrading the wife’s allowance to a pension
• The electricity rebate
• Rail concessions card
• Telephone concessions
• Wheel chair access to toilets
• User rights in nursing homes
• Police liaison committee task force
• Elder abuse
• Seniors’ advocacy, information & legal services (SAILS)
• represented on numerous other committees including the Minister for Energy’s Consumer & Industry Reference Group (CIRG)
Over the years, the League has been able to help many people with a varied range of problems. The major aim of the League is to improve the rights of the welfare user, not only pensioners but those on lower incomes and superannuation payments.
STRUCTURE OF THE LEAGUE
The first stage of participation is to obtain membership at a local branch to enjoy social activities and meetings to discuss issues affecting pensioners. At the branch level, more active members may volunteer to perform leadership roles as President, Secretary, Treasurer etc.
Above the branch level, regions may be overseen by Area Organisers, who communicate with various branches to learn about their activities and goals for advancing senior’s rights and benefits.
Governing all the state branches is the State Office headquarters, located in Brisbane. At the yearly State Conference (held in September) an Executive Committee is elected. These Committee members come from around the state and perform duties of State President, State Secretary, State Treasurer etc. The Head Office of the APSL collects annual capitation fees, pays Public Liability Insurance for all branches, lodges Incorporation fees, maintains an ABN and provides an office space for conducting business of the organisation as a whole.
The State Conference event brings together delegates from branches statewide. Each branch is allowed two delegates to conference. The State Management and Executive Committee are elected at this forum. All the elected positions of the League remain filled on a voluntary basis. The location of State Conference changes each time, with various branches offering to host it each year. Attending delegates raise many important issues including health care, patient transit schemes, transport, nursing home legislation, home and community care, concessions, pensions, superannuation and banking.
These days we have come a long way with the work we do. Our primary purpose is still that of a lobby group.
We hold information seminars/speeches on a range of issues including:
• Abuse of older people;
• Older people and supermarkets;
• End of life decision making;
• Retirement issues; and
• Housing for older people.
We work in collaboration with other Seniors organisations and networks including:
Seniors Independent Alliance (SIA) – A seven member organisation network, works in collaboration to promote, inform and clarify issues which impact on all seniors. Information & activities serve to enhance member organisations and the alliance’s advocacy, information and research roles. The SIA collaborates toward a State Government submission prior to the annual budget.
In addition, we obtain many grants to run a variety of projects. Some of the activities that we have run in recent years include:
• What’s Food Got To Do With It – A report the barriers to good nutrition for older people;
• Abuse of Older People – We held the first conference on elder abuse in Australia. In addition to the conference, we developed a kit with a fact sheets in a number of different languages; and
• Kurilpa Kitchen – a program where older people or people with an disability can come and have a meal. This is a program to educate and reduce poor nutrition through improving people’s socialisation. Kurilpa Kitchen is funded by the federal Department of Health.
Another aim of our organisation is to try and create a positive attitude to ageing through events like Seniors Week.
We have come a long way with the work we do. Our primary purpose is still that of a lobby group.
APSL’s mission is to give a voice to those we represent whilst promoting their well-being, security and dignity.
The APSL State Office is located in the Brisbane suburb of West End and provides members and the community with advocacy, information and referral services.