Leone Cordingley (73) and Maureen Giddy (80) are far from the quintessential, stereotype of retirees.
Armed with a computer and a mobile phone, these grandmothers are busy unearthing the seedy underbelly of the retirement industry.From fraudulent managers attempting to swindle the elderly residents of retirement villages, to the deaf ear of the government when any mention of ‘Over Fifty’ raises its head. Leone and Maureen have done all they can, and all they can still do, to improve the lives of our country’s most ignored populace.
And it is this desire to improve, and to be heard, that has lead to the creation of Seniors United NSW (SUN). A federal political party (which originated as a state party, hence the name) which aims to better the living conditions, financial states and general fairness of people living in retirement.
And Leone Cordingley has had a major part in the instigation, governing and continuation of this minority political party. By attending every meeting; listening to every idea; and recruiting every person she can find. With her end goal being SUN having its voice heard in the House of Review and the House of Representatives, where the most change can be achieved.
Clearly the woman for the job from the get go, Leone had already revolutionised her retirement village before she took on her role in the management council for the party. From air conditioning and solar panels, to the unneeded excesses of money the residents had been forced to pay for years, Leone is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the defence of the undefended.
And as she says, the residents of these retirement villages are too ‘old’ or too ‘tired’ to do much about the corruption of their governing bodies. So it is left to the action-takers like Leone, and her right-hand woman, Maureen Giddy to stand up and fight against the increasing tide of abuse, corruption and injustice.
This story reveals Leone’s beginning in politics, her drive to help her fellow elders, no matter the cost, as well as Maureen’s involvement in her neighbour’s hectic responsibilities, and own her role in providing the information and grievances that Leone needs to hear, when the busy grandmother of six cannot always listen. As well as the admiration that each woman feels for the other, that makes them such a fantastic catalyst for change.
“Everybody can make a difference if they try, and that’s my mantra, because from little acorns come mighty oaks.” -Leone Cordingley