Speech on Notice of Motion – Workforce Participation for Australians over 65

November 23, 2015

Senator Bob Day successfully moved the following Notice of Motion today:

I, and also on behalf of Senators Lazarus, Leyonhjelm and Wang, move:

That the Senate—

(a) recognises the untapped potential of Australians over the age of 65;

(b) notes that Australia ranks 13th in the Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development [OECD] for workforce participation of people aged over 65;

(c) acknowledges that raising mature age workforce participation will add tens of billions of dollars to Australia’s gross domestic product; and

(d) in the national interest, calls on the Government to remove the barriers and obstacles to the workforce participation of older Australians.

Mr President, the barriers and obstacles to older people participating in the workforce are substantial.  That’s why Australia ranks 13th in the OECD for over 65 workforce participation at 12.3%, compared to Iceland, Korea, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, Japan and Estonia all over 20%.

Senior Australians are banned from topping up their superannuation after 70 years of age.  They start losing their age pension once they earn over $162 a fortnight, $288 for couples.  At $700 a fortnight, they start paying tax.  At $2,010 a fortnight they lose the seniors’ health card and therefore PBS subsidised medicines.

Job seeker, workplace and insurance discrimination also remain unaddressed.

Yet senior Australians are banned from arranging work on terms and conditions that would suit their circumstances.