Create a Do Not Call register to protect our pensioners from charities and telemarketing.

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Please help me to protect one of our most vulnerable demographics from the onslaught of charity telemarketing. As a daughter of a parent with dementia who is trying desperately to maintain independence, I have serious concerns about the exemptions of charities from the Do Not Call register. Many elderly pensioners in our society are giving away more money than they can afford because they are vulnerable to these charities. They hear terrible stories of people needing help or causes that need support and they naturally want to help. But they are often forgetful, might not be fully aware of their financial situation and are often living on a government pension that barely covers basic living expenses. I’m calling on our government to ensure our pensioners are protected from organisations requesting money through telemarketing by creating a registry specifically for pensioners to register their phone number and no longer allow charities to contact them.

The following letter will be delivered to all parties concerned with the regulation of telecommunications and pensioner welfare.

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I draw your attention to a serious problem in our society and request your active support to manage the problem. Currently, charitable organisations are exempt from the Do Not Call register. Whilst I understand the need for organisations to garner support from the community, they are often creating hardship for people who are least able to support them, particularly pensioners.

I’m a 45 year old woman and I care for my mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As scientific evidence suggests, it is important for older people to maintain as much independence as possible. This is especially true when faced with any form of dementia. Over the last year I have had to step in multiple times to rectify my mother’s financial situation. I have spent hours calling charities and cancelling payments and requesting these organisations cease contact. After a couple of months I have to do it all over again. Of course, I could completely take over her finances, but that would only serve to increase her dependence when it’s not otherwise necessary to do so. She is capable of understanding her bills and walking to the post office to pay them. She remembers her PIN numbers and is more than capable of the basic mathematics required to maintain her finances. What she is vulnerable to is organisations calling her with targeted, emotional stories of people or causes that need financial help.

Like most Australians of her generation, she comes from an Australia that lends a helping hand when needed, gives people a fair go and offers support. Unfortunately, that’s a very different Australia to the one we live in now. In her generation people didn’t call up asking for money. If they did, they were desperate and people would put their hands in their pockets without question. It would be a rarity. Today, multiple calls can come in a day. Our elderly citizens can’t keep up, sometimes can’t even remember that they’ve already committed money to other causes. Some of them struggle to keep up with the amount of transactions that happen electronically, having lived in a world of cash transactions. All of this is happening while they are living on a meagre pension that barely covers living expenses. A pension they have worked hard for.

I’ve had many conversations with older Australians recently and I’m not surprised that this is a common story. The constant bombardment by charities is a very real problem and threat to the financial security of a portion of our society that deserves our respect and protection. More and more elderly people are falling victim to these organisations and deteriorating into financial crisis. I fear they will soon be turning to the very charities they have been coerced to support for their own survival.

We, the undersigned, call on our government to ensure our pensioners are protected from organisations requesting money through telemarketing by creating a registry specifically for pensioners to register their phone number and no longer allow charities to contact them. We request legal restrictions be put in place to enforce this register.

 
 



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