Human Rights of Older Australians

In this section you can find:

See also

Proposals for Commonwealth Age Discrimination Legislation, December 2002 - the Commission's Response to the Information Paper

In February 2003 the Commission provided its response to the Commonwealth Government's Information Paper containing its proposals for new Commonwealth age discrimination legislation.

Since July 2002, the Commission has participated in the Core Consultative Group (CCG) which was established by the Federal Attorney-General to assist in the development of detailed proposals for the new age discrimination legislation. The Government's Information Paper drew heavily on the CCG's proposals.

Age discrimination in private sector employment

HRC Report No.11 examines a complaint to the Commission by an employee of the Japan Travel Bureau. The complainant alleged that a reduction in the work allocated to her, and the subsequent decline in income, amounted to discrimination on the basis of her age. The Human Rights Commissioner found that the complainant had been subject to age discrimination and recommended that the Bureau compensate her. He also recommended that future decisions on the allocation of work to the complainant be made without discrimination on the ground of age. The Bureau accepted the recommendations in full.

Read the report.

The report is also available in PDF format (62KB) and Word Format (122KB).

Age Matters - A report on age discrimination

Age Matters: a report on age discrimination examines a number of age distinctions in Australian law and policy, many of which adversely affect the older population. These include discrimination in worker's compensation, superannuation, recruitment, promotion, retirement and redundancy, social security payments, insurance and health care. The report examines the federal government's international obligations to eliminate age discrimination. It also makes recommendations for federal action on age discrimination.

Age Discrimination in the Australian Defence Force

HRC Report No. 8 arose from complaints by three prospective entrants and one serving member of the ADF. The complaints related to various positions for which the upper age limit was 35. In each case the age distinctions complained of were found to be discriminatory and not within the "inherent requirements of the position". The Commissioner recommended that the ADF apologise to one complainant, compensate three of them and remove the discriminatory age requirements.

The report is available as a PDF document (240k) and in Word Format in five parts: Part 1 - Report (39k); Part 2 - Appendix A (53k): Part 3 - Appendix B (53k); Part 4 - Appendix C (76k); Part 5 - Appendix D (35k)

Compulsory Retirement: Report of Inquiry into Complaints of Discrimination in Employment and Occupation

HRC Report 1This report deals with complaints by four pilots who were compulsorily retired at age 60 from their employment with a major airline. The complainants submitted that the decision, taken pursuant to company policy, constituted discrimination on the ground of age.

The Human Rights Commissioner agreed and recommended the repeal of compulsory retirement provisions in the Public Service Act 1922 and in other federal legislation. The Commissioner also recommended that the Commonwealth legislate to provide a comprehensive national prohibition of age discrimination.

    Redundancy Arrangements and Age Discrimination: Report of Inquiry into Complaints of Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1997)

    HRC Report 2 concerns complaints against two state government employers about the use of age distinctions in the formulation of redundancy entitlements. The complainants submitted that the monetary value of the voluntary departure packages they received as employees over the age of 50 were substantially less than the value of packages offered to younger employees and constituted discrimination on the ground of age.

    The Human Rights Commissioner recommended that the practice of discriminating against older employees in determining the value of voluntary departure packages be abolished. He also recommended the removal of age discrimination against older workers from redundancy entitlement provisions in employment laws, policies and practices .

    Age Discrimination in Trade Union Membership Rules: Report of Inquiry into a Complaint of Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1997)

    HRC Report 4 report deals with a complaint of age restriction in trade union membership rules. The complainant was a member of a union the rules of which required members to retire from full membership at the age of 65 unless exempted by the Federal Executive of the union. The complainant was denied an exemption from the Federal Executive and transferred to honorary membership, which restricted his opportunities to work as an engineer.

    The Human Rights Commissioner found that the union's actions constituted discrimination and recommended that the rule be repealed and that the complainant be granted an apology and compensation. He also recommended that the Workplace Relations Act 1996 be amended.