Older Australians hope the government’s plan to streamline federal anti-discrimination laws will strengthen the legal protections against age discrimination.
The government wants to create a single federal anti-discrimination act, replacing the four existing laws which deal separately with racial, sex, disability and age discrimination.
National Seniors has welcomed the proposal, saying current age discrimination legislation is one of the weakest of all the anti-discrimination laws.
There have been no successful age discrimination claims since the Age Discrimination Act was introduced five years ago, National Seniors spokesperson, Paul Versteege said.
“We don’t see legislation as the be all and end all for addressing age discrimination but it is certainly part of the puzzle,” he said.
“Over time, education is probably the most effective way of improving the circumstances of people being discriminated against but it helps to have effective laws in place.”
Mr Versteege said older Australians often experience discrimination when seeking employment
But he acknowledged that a number of large employers, including the NRMA and Australia Post, have active mature age employment strategies.
The federal government plans to develop a draft anti-discrimination law for consultation with stakeholders and the public.
“Effective anti-discrimination legislation is an important element in removing barriers to greater inclusion and participation in society,” said federal attorney-general, Robert McClelland.
“Anti-discrimination law should be clear and easy to understand because people shouldn’t need expensive legal advice to know their rights and obligations.”