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Promoting positive & diverse portrayals of older Australians

Age Discrimination
Photo: Older man and woman running on a beach

The Age Discrimination Commissioner is focused on addressing barriers to equality and participation faced by older Australians. This is achieved through research, education and policy activities to build awareness of the damaging effects of age discrimination and to tackle the attitudes and stereotypes that can lead to age discrimination.

The aim of this latest project is to address a critical research gap that exists in Australia by:

  • Exposing the prevailing stereotypes, and invisibility, of older Australians in the media – both editorial and advertising.
  • Understanding the scope and depth of age stereotyping and age discrimination in the Australian community.
  • Understanding the impact of stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes in both the media and community on older Australians themselves.
  • Developing effective strategies to address age stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours in both the media and community.

The research will be key input to the media roundtable discussions the Commission will hold in June 2013 and the communication strategy and an awareness campaign planned for 2013-2015. The aims of the media roundtables and campaign are to:

  • Encourage the media to portray older Australians in an accurate, balanced and diverse manner – and a way that reflects their value, capability and experience.
  • Reshape attitudes in the community to support older Australians to realise their potential and maximize their contribution to workplaces and the community.

The research project, which will be conducted over seven months, commenced in November 2012. 

Project Partners

The project is funded by the Federal Government in response to recommendations made by the Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians.  The Panel was established by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan MP, and the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP, with the objective to identify and respond to the economic and social opportunities presented by an older population.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has engaged Urbis to conduct research into age discrimination, age stereotyping and ageism.  Urbis, an Australian research organisation established for more than 30 years, was recognised by the Australasian Evaluation Society for the Best Study of the Year in 2011 for their work for the Victorian Department of Human Services.

Download a fact sheet about the project

Download fact sheet (PDF)
Download fact sheet (Word)