Kate Carnell appointed chair of the Violet Initiative

Kate Carnell AO

The Violet Initiative (Violet) has announced the appointment of former Small Business Ombudsman Ms Kate Carnell AO, as their new Board Chair.

The Violet Initiative acts to support carers and reduce regretful outcomes (including economic) resulting from predictable death – approx 100,000 per year of which 60,000 are in a residential aged care setting.

Taking over from Acting Chair Mr Peter Shorthouse, Ms Carnell brings significant experience in leading the strategy and development in the national not-for-profit sector, particularly in the area of mental health, primary health care and aged care. She also sits on the board of care platform, Mable.

“I’m honoured to be appointed to this key position within an organisation seeking to change the way we plan, talk about and experience death and dying in Australia,” Ms Carnell said. “Dying remains one of the last taboos in our society. Everybody dies, yet we are all too often not prepared for death.

“I hope to share my experiences and the lessons I learnt in mental health and wellbeing, during my time in leadership positions at BeyondBlue. Particularly to help normalise and raise the profile of the importance of the final stages of life. End of life is more than just a medical response to our final days, it should be about a holistic approach which includes family, friends, carers and the person who is dying.”

Violet CEO, Ms Melissa Reader, said Ms Carnell’s appointment comes at a critical time for the nation.

“With the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and natural disasters, the Royal Commission into aged care, the issue of death and dying has been very much on the front page,” Ms Reader said. “Yet it remains something family and friends shy away from discussing, especially how they can make the final stage of life as positive as possible. We know that all too often, people are unprepared for their end-of-life stages and experiences. We do too little, too late.”

“At Violet, we want to change the perception about the last stage of life. It’s not just the final hours, but the months and even years leading up to death. We work to encourage people to talk, learn, plan and ultimately accept death and dying.”

Ms Reader recently shared an excellent introduction to the important work of the Violet Initiative and her own experiences in supporting and advocating for someone experiencing the end of life. Listen to the Aged Care Enrichment Podcast via the link below:

Ms Reader starts at 21:15

Ms Reader also took the opportunity to thank the outgoing Acting Chair, as well as former Chairpersons, Mr Andrew Macpherson and Ms Sally Evans, who both served Violet with passion and great strategic leadership.

“I’d like to especially take this opportunity to thank Andrew and Sally for their care and guidance. Their leadership and direction have helped us to grow as an organisation and has helped to set us up for our next chapter, under the leadership of Ms Carnell and the Board.”

For further information on the Violet Initiative – violet.org.au


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