When Peter Costello famously encouraged Australian families to have a child for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country, he was focused on a significant national challenge, the ageing of the population.

That Baby Bonus sure worked. Picture: Supplied

Population ageing is the product of two demographic trends, longevity and a declining birthrate. It is a challenge for many western nations, including Australia.

Australians are living longer, on average, than at any time in the past. While this will increase costs, especially for aged and health care, it is not an insurmountable problem. It is the combination of longer living and declining fertility that threatens the economic growth of the nation.

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  • Mel says:

    06:43pm | 13/11/12

    The problem is that too many of the wrong type of people breed. They are hardly the type who will be hard working tax payers who will keep us all in our old age .... Read more »

  • sunny says:

    06:05pm | 13/11/12

    I mainly agree with you. I don’t plan to stop working as soon as 65 ticks over, unless I’m in la la land or pushing up daisies. Also agree on the sustainability part. But say we achieve the perfect sustainable society where we have say 100% renewable energy and 100%… Read more »


When you think of the long-term unemployed, it is unlikely that the first image that comes to mind is of a grandparent.

If experience is essential, he's your man

Yet the reality is that over a quarter of people on Newstart Allowance are in their fifties and sixties, and one third of the long-term unemployed are in these age brackets.

The issues around age discrimination in the workforce are disturbing and need to be addressed if we are to ensure our economy remains sustainable as the population ages.

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  • Tony of Poorakistan says:

    03:03pm | 26/10/12

    well andye, I’ve been looking and apart from the aforementioned server jockeys, about all that is on offer are solution architects and business analysts, both of which are required more at the start of major projects ie define the requirements and the framework and then ship it off to India… Read more »

  • Debbie says:

    02:07pm | 26/10/12

    Shane ... this article is not about retired people. Its about working age persons, you know, those under retirement age not being able to gain employment due to being regarded as too old. Read more »


Retirees. They’re living it up nowadays, blowing any pitiful inheritance their kids could expect on all their tree-changes, sea-changes, and various kinds of me-changes.

Your inheritance? Ahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahaha. Picture: Thinkstock

But a number of Gen Ys - my generation - reckon they’re still going to get a fair bit from their parents when they die.

According the ING Direct Financial Wellbeing Index, one in seven Gen Ys are expecting to rely on their parents’ inheritance to support them in retirement.

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  • Mike says:

    01:26pm | 29/07/12

    You should take a good, hard read of Money Magazine, page 12, July 2012 edition.  That will put things into perspective for you and the whingeing boomers, with the faux “eeeh, it’s right tough for us” attitude. Read more »

  • marley says:

    07:30pm | 27/07/12

    @James - yep.  This isn’t about generations, really, it’s about what’s right and wrong.  It’s way too easy to blame the old fogies for everything that’s wrong and not to see the same pattern repeating itself in your own generation.  And, conversely, it’s way too easy for us older people… Read more »


Aged care. It’s not a very sexy topic. In fact many of us are so unwilling to consider elderly life, a successful architect in the sector has received death threats from residents opposed to the building of nursing homes in their neighbourhoods.

If only this were a realistic image…

Seriously, death threats. Want to build a $12 million super-brothel with 40 rooms? Sure! But no old people thanks.

Maybe it’s because we don’t want to contemplate our own decline, but it’s become increasingly clear our modern tendency to group older people together in neatly delineated residential pockets isn’t working. A study released this week, perhaps unsurprisingly, found lonely people aged 60 and over faced a 22.6 per cent increased risk of death.

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  • YT says:

    02:27pm | 23/06/12

    William, my dad also had a stroke and your experience /observations echoes my own. Mine were perhaps worse. My dad also ‘transitioned’ (don’t you love that word) from rehab to hospital transitional ward then to a shiny, glossy hellhole nursing home, again back to hospital and then into a hospital… Read more »

  • Halfway there says:

    11:45am | 23/06/12

    @James1, Surely the staff can tell that old lady, he’s just ducked down to Bunnings, or the pub, or a round of golf? Hats off to anyone who has the guts to work in an aged care facility. Read more »


My grandma will never own a computer.

Eva Woodrow, who turned 101 in December last year, is a member of Facebook. Picture: Quest Newspapers

She has a mobile phone, one with a flip screen that her kids and grandkids have programmed contacts into. Lately she has become a big texter, messaging grandkids to see how they went at footy or whether they want her to pick them up from school.

But the family probably won’t get her a computer. Logic is she doesn’t need or, really, want one. Besides, she’s got plenty of people who are happy to look things up for her. It’d be a challenge to teach her computers - the learning process would be long, the jargon difficult. And there’d be big questions about her security online.

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  • Keith Hammersmith says:

    11:20pm | 17/05/12

    So jayson, you just fall back on the “it just sucks” argument again,  No actual reason or evidence,  Hmm so a company that has made billions worldwide for a product or some dude that says it just sucks,  wonder whos opinion is more accurate? If your computer is running slow,… Read more »

  • Keith Hammersmith says:

    11:17pm | 17/05/12

    I do use my phone,  but when I want to show a dozen pictures from my 2 year olds birthday party to all of our family overseas, its a lot easier to just post those pics on FB rather than texting them individually to everyone…  but yeah.  If all the… Read more »


Last week I was standing at a pedestrian crossing at the Adelaide Airport with my two kids, aged five and eight. There was a car coming towards us, moving fairly slowly and appearing to slow down. In one of those split-second moments which people without kids will pontificate about, but which parents understand, we started to step onto the crossing.

Queensland MP Peter Lawlor with a photo of his children, with daughter Ali at left. Photo: Adam Head

The driver didn’t stop. He went straight through, missing us by inches. I shouted at him, as did a bystander, but he kept meandering along the road for about another 30m. He stopped his car smack-bang in the middle of the road, right on the white line between two lanes, where a security guard approached him to inquire as to what the hell he was doing.

The driver was so old that he possibly didn’t even know he was in a car at all.  He looked like he was 90 in the shade. At least.

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  • David Chewings says:

    09:53am | 11/12/11

    I agree with the early comment by Mahrat that you are being too accusatory and I would add a little simplistic.  We parents of the very young cannot be too careful when there is so much distraction.  I am annoyed that a search of this blog reveals not a single… Read more »

  • Andrew says:

    05:10pm | 05/12/11

    Gee Stephen Alcotrel will be a bit pissed off that you’ve labelled him a national voter. Read more »


Earlier this week, 86-year-old Leroy Luetscher temporarily became my idol. The Arizona pensioner was reportedly enjoying a spot of gardening when a freak accident left a pair of garden shears lodged in his eye socket. That’s right, his eye socket.

The sort of thing badass old people do. Picture: AP

The handle went past his eye and through his neck, eventually resting on his external carotid artery, leaving him to walk around like some sort of Edward Scissor-Face.

Luetscher, who is expected to make a full recovery, said he was “grateful to the doctors and staff” and left it at that. No blog. No finger-pointing. No attempt to use the incident to become a breakfast radio star or get a retweet from Snooki. The guy was all class and dignity. Elderly blokes like Luetscher make Jack “check out my one arm push-ups” Plance seem like no big deal.

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  • Nick says:

    10:46am | 17/05/12

    As inspiring and heart-touching some of the stories are, I cannot help but think of the counter arguments to why (typically) this elder generation act the way they do. I mean growing up without the technology and advancements in society (in theory anyway) has resulted in a stubborn and even… Read more »

  • Mike says:

    10:01am | 04/09/11

    I’m an “Old Person” too.  Got a computer or stereo you need fixed?  Got a wireless network you need installed or secured?  I can do all that.  Can you? Read more »


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