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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 559 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

rhetoric in the debate on the Psychologists Bill. At that stage we heard this sort of rhetoric time and time again, about how the world was going to end and how things were going to get worse. He took a fairly simple concept and reconstructed it into something entirely different. In so doing he built a straw man that would discourage people from seeing things clearly.

Mr Speaker, this is actually a fairly simple concept. The concept is that when somebody aged 85 or so applies for credit, there is actuarial evidence to show that somebody of that age who needs credit may not have the wherewithal to continue paying the loan over the next 30 years. At the moment the legislation would say no, that you cannot do that on the ground of ageism because you cannot discriminate on the grounds of age. Most of us would see the sensible approach taken by this bill. People who have the responsibility of lending money and who should be able to expect a reasonable return on that money ought to be able to take a proper and appropriate approach.

This legislation does not provide for a complete free-for-all in that it does allow the commissioner to examine a particular case and make sure that a decision was made on sensible grounds and that the issue was dealt with appropriately.

Just so I am clear about it, the legislation allows discrimination on the ground of somebody's age at the other end of the spectrum as well. If somebody is very young and there is a statistical actuarial view that suggests that a particular group is a very high risk group, then the credit provider is given the opportunity to take that into account. It is entirely appropriate that the provider should be able to take it into account. We are talking about what are often significant sums of money, and this is how these sorts of decisions can be made.

If an individual feels that they have been disadvantaged by what they think of as a discrimination, they can still approach the Discrimination Commissioner and deal with it. This is a sensible way to deal with a business issue. That is not what the legislation was trying to achieve when we wanted to avoid discrimination in terms of age.

Mr Speaker, it is appropriate that the government, having seen an anomaly, identify that anomaly and deal with it, and that is what we are doing in this case. Just as Mr Stanhope misrepresents, in my view, what happened with the discrimination legislation in regard to people with disabilities, and I know he has the opposite view which he has put very clearly, this Assembly's view was that we were ensuring appropriate use of our financial capacity to deal with people with disabilities. In this case I think that, basically, the same concept needs to be applied. So, Mr Speaker, I will be supporting this Discrimination Amendment Bill because it is a sensible amendment.


(11.07): Mr Speaker, as has been outlined, this bill, if passed, will allow credit providers to take a person's age into account as part of the assessment process for credit applications. As far as I am concerned, age is not the sole reason for people entering into credit arrangements that they cannot afford. The real issue is that credit providers are not checking whether people can meet repayments, and the only

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