The Challenges of an Extra Lifetime in the 21st Century: How do we prepare for living into our nineties?

The Hon Susan Ryan AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Co-presented with the Ageing, Work and Health Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney

Hosted by Professor Hal Kendig, Head of the Ageing, Work, and Health Research Unit

12 September

Population ageing is a global phenomenon and one of the major social challenges of the 21st century. It is estimated that within 40 years nearly one out of four Australians will be aged over 65 years and most can expect to live into their nineties. These unprecedented changes in demographic structure have enormous implications for the economic and social fabric of countries worldwide.

Enhancing well-being and sustainability in an ageing society will require that governments, employers, and individuals respond constructively to substantial changes ranging from financial to family, from work force to health. In this presentation The Hon Susan Ryan AO will discuss how we can respond to such challenges.

The Hon. Susan Ryan

The Hon Susan Ryan was appointed as Australia’s first Age Discrimination Commissioner on 30 July 2011 for a five year term. Up until her appointment as Commissioner, she had been Women’s Ambassador for ActionAid Australia and chaired the Australian Human Rights Group since 2008. She had also chaired the Australian Human Rights Act Campaign Inc. since 2005.

Immediately prior to commencing as Commissioner, Susan was also the Independent Chair of the IAG and NRMA Superannuation Plan and had been President of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees from 2000 to 2007, member of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors from 2001 to 2007, member of the ASX Corporate Governance Council from 2003 to 2007 and CEO of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia from 1993 to 1997. Susan has also held a number of positions at the University of New South Wales. She was Pro-chancellor and Council member from 1998, Chair of the UNSW Risk Committee from 2002 and Chair of the Advisory Council FASS UNSW since 2010.

From 1975 to 1988, Susan was Senator for the ACT, becoming the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in a federal Labor Government. She served in senior portfolios in the Hawke Government as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women and Special Minister of State. As Education Minister, Susan saw school retention rates double and universities and TAFEs grow significantly without the charging of tuition fees. She also pioneered extensive anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation, including the landmark Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Affirmative Action Act 1986.

In 1990, Susan was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia for her contribution to Parliament.