Senior man

Is Australia ageist? We asked older Australians about their experiences

A survey commissioned by SBS as part of new documentary series 'What does Australia really think about ...' has found age discrimination is rife in Australia.

Published: 30 August 2021

Marion Rae remembers the first time she experienced age-based discrimination. She was in her mid-40s and had returned from working overseas in Japan.

“I went to a company in the city and they said, 'yes you have a great CV', but I couldn’t get an interview,” she told SBS News.

“Somebody suggested I get a facelift and lie about my age.”

“I found it profoundly shocking that Australia had become so superficial that people were assessed on the basis of whether they had wrinkles or not. Their experience wasn’t what counted; it was their looks.”

Now 70, Ms Rae says she has experienced most ageism while navigating the fields of health and finance.

“I feel that I’m not heard,” she said.

“My experience, for example with medicos [health workers], was that they didn’t ask me, I wasn’t included in my own care plan, my experience was irrelevant.”