Leading seniors’ advocacy body, COTA Australia, is urging all parliamentarians to sign the pledge against ageism at a cross-party morning tea being held at Parliament House this morning. See the Pledge at https://www.everyagecounts.org.au/take_the_pledge
The “Every Age Counts” campaign’s cross-party event will be hosted by Senator Dean Smith and the Hon Julie Collins MP as co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Ageing and Aged Care, and will hear from Minister for Senior Australians, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM.
Chief Executive of Council on the Ageing, Ian Yates, said that “in the context of our ageing population, now, more than ever before, our leaders need to collectively stand up and commit to working to put an end to ageism.”
“In the recent decades, though there’s more to be done, we have made great strides in tackling sexism, racism and homophobia; but we are seriously lagging when it comes to addressing the omnipresent ageism that pervades our culture and society.
The Employing Older Workers report released in November last year from the Australian Human Rights Commission paints a dire picture of age discrimination in Australian workplaces.
“Tens of thousands of mature, well qualified Australians are being ruled out from jobs on the basis of their age, before they even have the chance to demonstrate they have the skills, experience and ability for a particular job.
“Age discrimination is still rife in Australia and older Australians face a myriad of challenges, obviously in the workforce but also in other areas such as health care.
The State of the (Older) Nation report released by COTA last year paints a similarly disconcerting picture of ageism; 33 percent of older Australians have experienced discrimination and 46 percent feel less valued by society than they did when they were younger.
“While employers have a big part to play in stopping ageism, the reality is that we all have important parts to play, by the way in which we treat and respect the older Australians in our own lives, and MPs and Senators should take the lead on tackling ageism.
“A huge cultural shift is required in our perceptions when it comes to ageing and we all need to get much better at not devaluing older people and their continuing capacity to contribute to society,” said Mr Yates.
Date: February 21
Time: 10:15 AM – 11.15AM
Location: Senate Alcove, Parliament House
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Bronte Kerr 0411 676 269
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.