EveryAGE Counts aims to protect the rights of older people

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Are you ageist?

That’s the question being asked of every Australian as the new EveryAGE Counts campaign tries to tackle ageism, discrimination and protect the rights of older people.

The campaign was launched this morning by former federal Minister and Red Cross chief executive Robert Tickner AO and Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO, and features this video starring Australian actor Bryan Brown.

And YourLifeChoices continues its ongoing crusade for dignity in retirement, now with some extra clout, as publisher Kaye Fallick is a member of the EveryAGE Counts Campaign Coalition Steering Group.

Campaign co-chair Robert Tickner said that ageism is a unique form of prejudice, in that we’ll all one day (hopefully) grow old, so in essence, it is discrimination against our future selves.

Mr Tickner called for a National Agenda for Older Australians to improve economic, social, health and civic participation outcomes for older people.

“We want to see whole-of-government action on ageing and ageism, and that governments maintain a ministerial position responsible for ageing and older Australians, which has cross-portfolio responsibility, to ensure that policies and programs take an integrated, life-course approach and aren’t relegated to siloed health and social welfare portfolios.

“We would like to see governments at all levels help drive a public conversation about ageing and ageism including support for a broad, sustained public awareness and education campaign,” said Mr Tickner.

Our ageing population is rapidly increasing, with the number of Australians over 65 expected to more than double by 2055, so addressing these issues now is paramount.

“It’s an enormous opportunity, but outdated negative attitudes and beliefs about ageing and older people are preventing older people from contributing – socially and economically – and, therefore, our communities and our economy are missing out on the many benefits of its citizens living longer, healthier lives,” said Dr Patterson.

While ageism is a constant for many older Australians, so too is the challenge of staying employed into later life – a problem the Government needs to solve if it wishes to manage the cost of funding welfare for older people.

Not only is it difficult for unemployed older people to find a job, it seems staying in one is also a challenge, with Dr Patterson saying that two-thirds of all age discrimination complaints relate to workplace experiences.

“The latest survey by the Australian Human Resources Institute found that almost a third of organisations are reluctant to recruit workers over 50,” she said.

Executive director at The Benevolent Society, Dr Kirsty Nowlan, hopes that the campaign will change the unfair portrayal of older Australians being a burden both economically and socially.

“This not only devalues most people’s experience, it stops us from discussing the diversity of experiences faced by people as they get older, many of which should be incredibly positive,” said Dr Nowlan.

The EveryAGE Counts campaign will call on all Australians to end ageism, through a movement that encourages everyone to be involved in the change they’d like to see and to speak out against ageism in all forms.

“I challenge every person and organisation to think about the implications this has for them,” said Dr Patterson.

“Don’t see this as an issue for others. This is personal. It is about every one of us – today, in a year or two, or in 30 years.”

Australians are being asked to take action by visiting the campaign website www.everyagecounts.org.au, watch the video and share it with friends and family, sign the pledge, and share their own stories and experiences of ageism.

How has ageism affected you? Are you hopeful the campaign will have positive outcomes?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Ageism is rife in the work sector. I am a prime example of it.

  2. 0

    Start with the politicians and media. Never a day goes by without some politician along with newspaper articles bleating about the government being worried about the ageing population, the health services being burdened by the elderly, pensions driving Australia into bankruptcy. When do we ever hear about how many hundreds of millions of dollars older people save the government and taxpayers by the sheer number of voluntary, unpaid work they put in?

  3. 0

    Good one Triss.

  4. 0

    They are using ageism as a excuse for immigration what rot it is just greed.Now that overpopulation has stuffed up our cities they want to move the problem to the bush ,no bloody way.

  5. 0

    Never experienced ageism and never expect I will.

  6. 0

    The one area I see ageism is from many millennials who continue to blame the baby boomer generation for everything that is wrong in today’s world, I think that this causes many politicians to frame policy according to that belief, I know that not all millennials are guilty of this false belief, but one party in particular fosters this belief to try and encourage the complainers to support them and have even suggested lowering the voting age to 16.

    • 0

      True, Jim – my kids – late 20th century – both have no issue with the knowledge that their parents did a damned fine job of setting them up for life. They have no such senseless criticism of older people, who, in the main, worked under different conditions and social times.

  7. 0

    Sorry to say my cynicism says that anyone with past political affiliations or any inside running is not suited to understanding the job. (grinch, grinch)

  8. 0

    If you are self sufficient , have a positive outlook on life an not a leaner, then its highly unlikely you would have encountered ageism

    Or perhaps I just look decades younger than my real age . Might experience it in 20 years time, but I doubt it.
    It’s all in the mind

  9. 0

    I’m pretty sure I experienced ageism when at age 60 and a university lecturer, I couldn’t get any job in any industry, and had to stay on Newstart until I went onto the Age pension! I applied for hundreds of jobs in that time, and not just in the education sector. The only “job” I got was a 10 week contract.

  10. 0

    Pensioners should be given 50% discount on Rates,Gas Electricity water; the same as in Queensland We get the same pension from the Federal Govt and why are Victorians worst off
    Theprime Minister can find money ti give to the Racing industry and considers Pensioners as burden.Why?



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