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Thursday, 27 September 2001
Page: 28200

Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (1:24 PM) —I would also like to speak briefly on the Abolition of Compulsory Age Retirement (Statutory Officeholders) Bill 2001. The opposition supports this bill. It amends acts which specify compulsory age retirement limits for statutory officeholders by repealing provisions that prevent the appointment of a person over a certain age or for a term that would continue beyond a certain age. We note that the amendments will affect neither the term of existing statutory officeholders appointed before the bill commences nor federal judicial appointments or ADF personnel.

The opposition supported the Public Service Act 1999, which had the effect of removing compulsory age retirement from the Australian Public Service. We see the changes in this legislation as complementing that measure in the Public Service Act. It is overdue, as Senator Patterson said, and is a welcome recognition that age is often an artificial barrier.

Senator Patterson —The closer you get, the more you understand it.

Senator FAULKNER —I am getting closer and closer, Senator Patterson. The only thing I can say is that it is at the same rate as everybody else. It is important to say that older people can and do make as valuable a contribution as anyone else in a variety of statutory positions. It is for those reasons that the bill is commended and supported by the opposition.