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Your views: on older unemployed, and preferential voting

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the challenges for older unemployed trying to find work, and preferential versus first past the post voting.

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Commenting on the story: Fears older Australians on Centrelink benefits may never work again

It has been the case for years, and a large part of the issue is that young recruiters simply dismiss older experienced and hard working Australians in favour of the younger and less experienced, and some with far inferior attitudes to work and employment. – Peter Quirk

I too fall into the category of the older unemployed.

Before Covid-19 I ran between three casual jobs trying to keep my head above water, and because those jobs were casual I still needed at times to be topped up with Newstart payments.

Since Covid I have lost all jobs. I have applied for numerous jobs and have numerous knockbacks. I now find myself very much lacking in confidence and very much doubt my ability and worth.

All I see is unemployment until I’m eligible for old age pension. I am 58. – Natalie Jones

It’s a farce to have people over 60 looking for work. Number one fact- employers do not employ older people.

Nobody wants to spend money or time training someone over 60 for a career change warranted by that person no longer being able to do a physically challenged job they have as a career.

I worked in healthcare for many years but due to change in physical abilities can no longer do physical work.

I am 65 this year, can barely move but am required to look for a job which does not exist for my physical capacity.

I attend my service provider for 18 months without even a chance in hell of finding work.

Do I disclose to a prospective employer that I cannot stand or move around for longer than 20 minutes?

I have one year to go to get the pension. 

I take up taxpayer money and time attending a service provider (job agency) with no results. There are many over-60s who attend group jobseeking with me.

The young ones get employed but we … no words. – Jay Cupido

I would very much like to reply to this article as it’s a problem I have been grappling with over the last three years.

My husband and I owned and operated a mechanical workshop in Rockhampton for 25 years, during which time I managed the office.

This included paying wages, all bookkeeping duties, liaising with accountants, learning and implementation of computerised bookkeeping (QuickBooks). 

During this time GST was brought in and I also learned and implemented those processes.

At the same time, I  always held down either a full-time or part-time jobs as well across varied industries such as:

1. Office Manager/Bookkeeper/Receptionist at a podiatry practise for 6 years.

2. Bank Cashier at a Building Society

3. Manager/Cashier of a Building Society agency.

4. Office Manager/PA/Bookkeeper/Receptionist for a Psychologist

We closed our mechanical workshop in 2014 due to my husband’s poor health and decided it was time to fulfil our long-term desire to move to Brisbane.

Shortly after arriving in Brisbane I did a Certificate III in Business, which I flew through and managed to complete ahead of some of the younger members in my class.

Within weeks I received employment with a scientific research and development company as their Business Support Officer. My work was of such a high standard I was quickly chosen to also fulfil the role of PA to the CEO of the company. As the company was ASX listed my tasks included shareholder management and the organisation of  overseas conferences and travel. 

After three years however, this company was experiencing severe financial hardship and, in the second round of redundancies, my role and those of five others, ended.

Since this time I have only been able to find short-term contract work, interspersed with Centrelink payments.

I have participated in one of the courses Job search offered me as “an older Australian that needed to upskill and learn transferrable skills”.

The course lecturer did not know what to offer me as I was already highly skilled in all the course matter and it ended up being a waste of my time (and theirs). 

They actually did an article on me in their newsletter as to how they had managed to “help me”. 

I have significant health issues (lung disease, vocal issues caused by long-term undiagnosed silent reflux) which mean that I am not as easily slotted into positions as I once was.

I managed to find a permanent full-term position in January 2020. In my application, and at the interview, I made it crystal clear that my voice was no longer able to handle phone work.

Within two days of starting the position I was instructed to make phone calls. When I spoke to my supervisor and reminded her that I had advised of my inability to do voice work, her answer was that “this is what was needed in the position and, if I couldn’t do it, then I needed to resign”.

I dread the day that Jobseeker payments are reduced to pre-Covid 19 rates. No one can live on those rates with any degree of financial stability.

My husband and I are fortunate that we share a house with family who are employed and well-paid. I think a lot about the Australian population that are not blessed in this way.  

I almost laughed (were it not so sad) that the Govt is thinking of increasing the Jobseeker benefits by $10 per day. I imagine they think this is being generous. Perhaps they should try to live on it. 

To complete the insult, I recently received a letter from my Jobservice provider offering me a course that could help me, as an older Australian, upskill and learn transferrable skills.

I suggested to them that perhaps they pay the $4000 I need to do a course in medical transcription that I am unable to afford myself. To date I have not received a reply. 

As a 63yo with questionable health I’d really like to know how I can compete with younger job seekers. – Margo Buckton

Commenting on the story: Preference voting in Govt’s sights as electoral shake-up looms

 Preferential voting is vastly superior to first-past-the-post to ensure those who are elected represent the largest percentage of the electors.

The scandalous rorts in the Senate due to “preference whisperers” have undermined confidence and respect in Parliament and nothing has been done by the major parties to fix it.

Political parties should not determine preferences either.

Perhaps a system of reduced value for each subsequent preference would lead to a better outcome. Eg with 5 candidates, the initial vote is worth 5 points, second preference 4 points and so on. – Ross and Chris Heitmann

I have the feeling, reading some of the responses to this article, that some of your readers do not understand the difference between optional preferential voting, and non-compulsory voting.

However, I agree with Peter Baker that I would like to be able to choose to not vote for a candidate simply because they happen to be on the ballot paper, but I will also fight tooth and nail to retain compulsory voting which I see as a responsibility as much as a right. – Helen Salkeld

Mature aged workers over the age of 60 years don’t have the time or the energy looking for work.

I am nearly 66 and have applied for over 100 jobs of any types through Jobactive over the last few years and have been lucky to even have 5 interviews.

They take a look at your Resume and if you have previously worked over 20 years you are instantly put in the too old range. It doesn’t matter if you are suitable for the job or not.

Since when can you find the incentive to search for work, when this is the reaction you get from applying?

When I finished my last job in 2013 I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to get another at my age. What a shitfight you have to go through as the questions asked at an interview these days include what do you want from this job? Are they serious?

They know what age we are and should also know that we just want to work and we will also do our very best if we get the job. One thing us mature workers do is perform to our best abilities. We are honest and we can be trusted to do our work without complaint. 

Why is it that employers find it so difficult to believe that we cannot do the job as well as someone who is say 25 to 35 ? 

Once you reach our age there is already an expiry date set for us. How is that even fair to say that?

Definitely no incentive to even consider working after this happens and that is what happened to me. It is only volunteering that keeps me happy and busy. I am also one along with others that also make the people we look after happy. 

I reach Pension age in a few more weeks but would much prefer to still be working. As this is not going to happen I will now continue my volunteering.

After Covid-19 hit it made everyone realise how vulnerable we are and things had to change. We are still vulnerable but we are also realiding that the work we once thought was within reach is now very much out of reach. We are no longer wanted in the workforce and that is now a reality.

Maybe our Government needs to take a harder look at what is happening, as job stats for older Australians will continue to grow as we are no longer required.

It is sad to say that we have been written off, but it appears to be true. – Angie Watson

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