Living longer, but can we work much longer?


Starts At Sixty! | Do you agree with Julie Bishop on this?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

7:02 AM



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January 04, 2015 Written By Starts at Sixty Writers in Current Affairs

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Yesterday, Julie Bishop made a big announcement and it is incredibly relevant to anyone reading this right now. She said, “60 is the new 40″ and called for employers to better see and understand the value that over 60s can bring to the Australian workforce.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, our Foreign Affairs Minister said, “I believe 60 is the new 40, I’d like to say 30 but that would be ridiculous.” Julie frequently works 20 hour days at the age of 58 – like many other “older” Australians so she understands what a busy working life is like.

“I think it would be good for there to be an acknowledgement that experience and the wisdom that comes from experience actually should count for more than it does.” Julie said.

Minister for Ageing was her first Ministerial appointment in 2003 so this is an issue Ms Bishop has worked closely with in the past. “I had a lot to do with this issue and the fact is employers and others in the community think people have a use-by date just because they reach a particular age,” she said.

“I think it should come down to an individual’s capability and capacity to continue to perform at a high level.”

Ms Bishop also shared that the thoughts that age limits imposed on commissioners at the industrial relations body Fair Work Australia could be counter-productive because “some of our best legal minds are just hitting their peak at age 65″.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, research by the Deloitte Access Economics commissioned by the Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan in 2012 found a five percentage point lift in the participation rate of workers 55 years and over would result in an extra $48 billion in extra GDP.

Other research has found 35 per cent of Australians aged 55 to 64 years and 43 per cent of Australians aged 65 and over have felt discriminated against when trying to get into the workforce. Seniors Australia CEO Michael O’Neill welcomed Ms Bishop’s “well-informed” comments on older Australians.

After working as a community day in and day out, we know what it is like for you and want to help you fight for better employment opportunities and workplace equality. So we want to know, whether you love her or aren’t a fan of her, do you agree with Julie Bishop’s statement?

This article was written by Starts at Sixty Writers

Adelaide Hills Residents are proud of the achievements of The Honourable Julie Bishop, MP. Born in Lobethal, SA, and educated in Law at the University of Adelaide, she has been the Member for Curtin in Western Australia since 1998, is the competent Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister under Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Her statement that 60 has become the new 40 is a political one. It is true that life expectancy is increasing through the public adopting healthier life-styles, and having access to medical advances in treatment. This is increasing the financial burden on the national budget, and Australia’s vested interest in prolonging the working life of longer-living oldies. Her message to employers is to not overlook the abilities and value of those over 60. It will be welcomed by the many who wish to stay in the work-force.

But what measures will the government be ready to adopt to make sure that suitable work is available, and will it be at the cost of the employment of those who are younger?

We may be living longer but will we be able to work longer? The ageing process has not been halted. Thus there is the same drop off in sporting prowess. Our 40-year-old cricketers are still retired from their sport at 40,  not 60. (apart perhaps for WA’s Brad Hogg). How competitive will the elderly be in the contest for work? Who will police working conditions to decide whether the work-place is safe for them, and make sure that they are not exploited as a source of cheap labour.

This blog “Life After Work” is dedicated to increasing the joy of living after we finish working for pay. On-going paid employment is ideal, but the day always comes when for one reason or another, remuneration is no longer possible.




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