“Australia’s Human Rights Act: A Call to Protect Older Persons Amidst Cost-of-Living Crisis”

Australia, Human Rights

Article: As Australia grapples with a worsening cost-of-living crisis, Age Discrimination Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM has warned of an increased risk of elder abuse. Amidst this dire situation, more than 700 human rights advocates have urged the Federal Government to introduce a Human Rights Act, following a major national conference in Sydney on 13 June, 2024.

The recent parliamentary report, tabled on 30 May, 2024, recommends a National Human Rights Act as part of a revitalized Human Rights Framework. With this development, Australia is closer than ever to establishing basic legal protections for its citizens.

The Age Discrimination Commissioner cautions that the ongoing crisis could exacerbate elder abuse, which is defined as harm done to an older person by someone they know and trust. With over 60 eminent experts joining the call for a Human Rights Act, the nationwide problem of elder abuse is at the forefront of discussions.

As the new President of the Commission, Hugh de Kretser, takes the helm, advocates hope for positive change for people and communities whose human rights are at risk. The appointment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Katie Kiss further strengthens the Commission’s efforts to address human rights issues, including those faced by First Nations communities.

With the start of Reconciliation Week on 27 May, 2024, Commissioner Kiss called on Australians to overcome generations of disadvantage and division, and forge a path towards unity. As violence against women continues to plague the nation, tens of thousands have united in protest, urging for concrete action to address the issue.

In the face of these challenges, the push for a Human Rights Act is more crucial than ever. The Act aims to protect the rights of all Australians, including older persons, and address the human rights issues plaguing the nation.