The 2016 OAA-ANU Lecture - Australia’s longevity achievement

The Order of Australia Association (OAA)-ACT Branch in partnership with The Australian National University invites you to the 2016 OAA-ANU Lecture.

The Hon Susan Ryan AO will reflect on Australia's many and diverse national achievements. She will identify Australia's increased longevity as one of these, and discuss why it is not recognised as such, and the negatives if overlooking the potential positives of longevity. She will present data, particularly relating to workforce discrimination demonstrating the need to change employment practices so that as they live longer, Australians can also work longer. Recent financial analysis has established massive benefits available to the national economy from establishing longer working lives for most individuals.

 She points to the human rights damage, and damage to individual dignity and security resulting from ageist attitudes that exclude people from the workforce too early. The discussion takes up the urgent need to change these attitudes and practices so as to prepare Australia better for the year 2055 when the proportion of the population over 65 will have doubled, 40000 citizens will have reached their 100th birthdays, and life expectance will continue to grow.

 Better preparation for these massive demographic changes are possible and have been extensively investigated, including in Ryan's Human Rights Commission report from her national inquiry into employment discrimination against older people and people with disability, Willing to Work.

 Ryan invites us to reimagine the future in 2055, and support the growth of new high tech industries and services, facilitated by positive and realistic attitudes what people can achieve through their 60s, 70s and often 80s.

About the speaker  

The Hon Susan Ryan AO is the former Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

From 1975 to 1988, she was Senator for the ACT, becoming the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in a federal Labor Government. She served in senior portfolios in the Hawke Government as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women and Special Minister of State. As Education Minister, Susan saw school retention rates double and universities and TAFEs grow significantly without the charging of tuition fees. She also pioneered extensive anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation, including the landmark Sex Discrimination Act 1984and the Affirmative Action Act 1986.