Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cultural whips sting grey workhorses in new political paddock

Image: A very talented artist Virgil Serrano posted this study of the Animal Farm workhorse, Boxer.

THE concept of "age discrimination" crept into our culture over a few decades, and nowadays it's a fairly hot subject.
Many social and economic analysts and politically motivated interests, however, have latched on to a simplistic view of inequity from employers rejecting older people for no better reason than their age.
Sure, the "old and you're on the scrap heap" treatment needs correcting but is just a facet of complexities stemming from longer life expectancy and a shift in the population age scale.

FORMER Labor senator and Hawke government minister Susan Ryan, in her first year as the nation's age discrimination commissioner, has expounded on many of the issues. The 12 speeches she has posted under the Australian Human Rights Commission banner show her depth of feeling and expertise on discriminatory matters.
The recurrent theme of course relates to getting older people gainfully employed. Ms Ryan says age discrimination is driving "millions out of the workforce long before they are ready to retire".
The focus on the right to work has had politicians of all colours plotting to increase the retirement age and keep seniors working longer, but is anyone watching over the right to retire?.

SOME of us can still remember when senior workers could step aside with dignity when they had served their time in the harness. Now, many are destined never to have relief from a lifetime of toil – just like that poor old horse in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Society seems now to want to mimic that Orwellian porkine mentality and whip the workhorse until it collapses for the last time.

THIS pessimistic view is quite unlike that of Alex Petsheny, 62, a grandfather who came to Thornlands from Darwin three years ago so he and wife Jan could live closer to their family.
Alex is a workhorse looking for a harness but has been shocked by the snubs, from not only potential employers but from the same System that Ms Ryan represents.
Sure, bosses who employ older workers can receive incentive payments, but only if the workers are on Centrelink benefits for which Alex doesn't qualify.
As he says, you can look after yourself all your life and get no support, while others can jump out of one safety net and into another. The authorities need to do something about that sort of inequity.

ALEX has posted a Handyman Services notice as a multi-skilled tradesman/handyman offering general home repairs, painting, plaster repair, tiling and minor plumbing. He's fit and willing and just needs some encouragement right now.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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