If ‘we are in this together’, then it follows that close attention should be paid to the question of who is included in our understanding of ‘we’, because the assumptions embedded in that definition will inevitably dictate the subsequent choices about policy and resourcing.

Recently, I heard a government official praise collective action to flatten the curve, because – and I’m paraphrasing – ‘there are people whose elderly parents are alive today because of our actions’. So, people are defined as those old enough to have ‘elderly’ parents (and the word elderly really should be eliminated from public dialogue). Are older parents also people? And where are the children and young people? Take a look at discussions of recovery, you will find an overwhelming focus on people from 20-60 in our definitions of ‘we’.  What choices does that enable? What and who gets left out?

We need a public conversation about what it means to Build Back Better that includes all people.

We need to expand our understanding of ‘we’.

Kirsty Nowlan

Exec Director, Strategic Engagement, Research & Advocacy @benevolentAU Co-Chair @EveryAgeCounts and @everychild_AU @PensionPoverty