While checking out the Treasury website the other day, I noticed the Gillard Government has established an Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians. The panel’s awkward name briefly made me wonder if the budgetary situation was so bad the Government was considering creating work gangs of seniors in a work-for-the-pension scheme.
But then I read more closely, and it’s all about investigating options for getting seniors connected with their communities (e.g. via the NBN), improving workforce participation (so senior Australians can work to 67 at least, I suppose, if not longer), and getting seniors involved in the fight against environmental degradation and climate change (pretty vague at the moment). There are a few other issues for the panel to investigate, as specified in the scope of works.
Obviously there is a huge potential for senior Australians to contribute to the nation, whether that is through the workforce, business or volunteering. With our culture’s possibly unhealthy obsession with youth, it’s easy to forget that arguably the three most influential leaders of the last century made their greatest contributions when they were seniors. Winston Churchill led wartime Britain to resist Nazi Germany while in his late sixties, Gandhi fought for Indian independence while in his sixties and seventies, and Ronald Reagan defeated Soviet Communism while in his seventies.