Friday, March 4, 2011

Governor of Tasmania Recognises Ageing Myth

I was pleased to hear that the Governor of Tasmania picked up on the theme of the ageing population myth in his recent speech to the 2010 National Conference of the Association of Independent Retirees.

The Governor said in his speech, after referring to comments I have made on the ageing population scare:

“I could not agree more….Is not a long life expectancy a standard measure of a progressive and successful community?”

The Governor went on to say that an ageing population is an opportunity, limited only by an inappropriate attitude to retirement.

The proponents of the ageing population scare devalue older people and the significant contributions older people make to our society. Research constantly shows that older people make a great contribution to our society, providing child care and acting as mentors and role models.

We should recognise that workforce ageing will help us solve some of the most deep-rooted and serious problems we have in our society, and dismiss, to quote the words of the Governor, “the doomsayers who make gloomy predictions upon the basis that living longer means that the extra years of life will impose a financial burden on the younger generation.”


  1. The real threat is not an ageing population but a drug addled community. There are 792,000 disability pensioners in this country. Anyone who works in the courts knows that a very significant number of young people have made themselves psychotic, and unemployable, through drug abuse. They will be heavily represented among those on disability pensions. Kelvin is absolutely right. Many older members of the community make large and often unseen contributions. The drug counsellor at a busy suburban court in Melbourne is well into his seventies, and works 6 days a week counselling kids 1/3 his age, and there are many families held together by grandparents bringing up their grandchildren because their parents are hooked on heroin or other drugs and are not competent to care for their own kids.

  2. There is a consensus that our government's main role now is to nurture and promote economic growth and investments in Australia. Their focus has become twisted and instead of a democratically elected party making decisions on our behalf, for the welfare of our population, they are basing their success on economic figures and growth. Growth, at a time of many uncertainties, is not necessarily in our best interests. It's putting the cart before the horse! We shouldn't have our value as humans measured against how we perform in adding to growth, or to the economy. Our Economy demands can be misanthropic, and when older people are considered as a threat to growth, and a burden to our nation, and a reason for being compensated by young immigrants, then our governments have lost their tracks.

  3. Much of the enhancement to life expectancy of Australians is because of advances made possible by medical research: reduced infectious disease burdens through vaccination and antibiotic use, better treatments for serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, better public health (eg alerting public to dangers of smoking, SIDS reduction programs).

    For Australians to continue to live healthier and longer lives than the previous generations the government needs to continue to support medical research through funding of the NHMRC.

    The rumoured budget cut to the NHMRC in the upcoming federal budget will only delay future health advances which will help more Australians live healthily and happily into their older years.