AUSTRALIA: Age Matters - A report on age discrimination

Age discrimination is often seen as relevant only to older people but it is in fact an issue for all of us. We are all potentially targets of age discrimination at some stage of our lives - at 16 we may be thought too young to perform a job; ironically some years later we may be seen as too old.

Younger and older age groups in particular are judged by their age rather than their abilities. It is often presumed that because you are older you are lacking in energy or enthusiasm, or that you are not interested in working or unable to adapt to change. If you are young it is often presumed that you are lacking in values or opinion, are inexperienced or unable to commit. These stereotypes can seriously limit access to opportunities and concrete economic and social benefits.

It doesn't matter what age you are, you should not be denied access to accommodation, goods and services, employment, social security and other benefits solely because of your age and without good reason.

Although it shouldn't 'matter', in fact what the Human Rights Commission hears from people is that age does 'matter'. That's why we have titled the report Age Matters. in Canberra the launched a discussion paper on age discrimination, that asked whether Age matters?

The discussion paper called for public comment on a wide range of areas where age distinctions are made, to identify some of the gaps in age discrimination legislation and suggest ways of eliminating age discrimination.

The Commission received 57 submissions from a variety of organisations discussing a wide range of areas where age discrimination occurs against younger and older people. The Age Matters report we are launching today incorporates the comments made in submissions.



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