The strength of a society is reflected in how it takes care of its elderly.
American politician Hubert H. Humphrey once said: “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped”.
Some disturbing cases of elder abuse in health care facilities around the country led to the formation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The royal commission will be putting under close scrutiny Australia’s aged care system.
It got underway in Adelaide on Monday as yet another concerning example of standards of care not being met in the Illawarra.
In response to the establishment of the royal commission thousands of submissions have been received.
In announcing the royal commission in September last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned the country to brace for the worst.
"I think we should brace ourselves for some pretty bruising information about the way our loved ones, some of them, have experienced some real mistreatment," Mr Morrison said at the time.
"And I think that's going to be tough for us all to deal with. But you can't walk past it."
The royal commission process will be thorough, exhaustive and unhurried.
On Monday, Whitlam MP Stephen Jones highlighted that there were many in the Illawarra that need help now.
“There are more than 1000 people in the Illawarra who are in the National Prioritisation Queue for home care packages,” he said.
“These people have been assessed as a priority, yet there’s no funding package available to provide those services they’re assessed as needing.”
He called the federal government’s additional care packages announced at the weekend as too little, too late.
If the opening statement is true, Australian society has a little way to go yet before it passes the test.