Urgent need for age discrimination commissioner

A report on age discrimination to be released today reaffirms the urgency for a standalone age discrimination commissioner as promised by Labor during the election, according to Australia’s largest seniors’ group.

The report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, coincides with today’s International Day of the Older Person, and highlights the ageism that exists in society and the barriers older people face, especially in employment.

National Seniors Australia welcomed the government’s announcement yesterday that it has begun introducing legislation to establish an Age Discrimination Commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

National Seniors spokesperson Paul Versteege said a dedicated commissioner would be able to rule on age discrimination in a range of situations.

“Older people face age discrimination in many ways, for example, when applying for a job or promotion, enrolling at university or TAFE and even when using services such as banking, superannuation and government services,’’ Versteege said.

“We even hear of cases where people are given tips to hide their age on their resume. If that’s not an example of serious age discrimination, then what is?

“There is a sex and a race commissioner but why not an age commissioner?

“National Seniors has pushed this issue hard for many years, particularly during this year’s election campaign and now we are calling on the government to appoint a standalone commissioner.”

Research shows a person in their 50s who becomes unemployed will remain unemployed three times longer than someone of a younger age.

Over the last six months the average period of unemployment for those aged 55+ was sixty two weeks compared to twenty weeks for the younger cohort.


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