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Legal systems response to aged people and people with differing sexual identities

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Introduction

Outline the legal system's response to discrimination against the aged in Australia. Evaluate the response of the legal system to the problems faced by young people OR people of differing sexual identities. The Australian legal systems response to discrimination against various groups within Australia has been both positive and negative. These groups include 'The Aged' and 'People with differing sexual identities'. Multiple laws, acts and organisations have contributed to the overall rise and fall of these groups within Australian society, and not always as effectively as was planned. There is no particular age at which a person is classified as "aged". As people become older, there status amongst their community alters and discrimination against them may occur. To prevent this from occurring the Federal Government introduced the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, making it illegal for a person to be discriminated against based on their age. The Australian Government is exploring opportunities to encourage older Australians to continue participation in the community and workforce for as long as they are willing and able to do so. To allow for the continuity of this, senior citizens are able to have considerable earnings and still receive an Age pension. In addition, the Pension Bonus Scheme provides an incentive for older Australians to defer claiming Age Pension and instead remain in the workforce. ...read more.

Middle

This may be in a positive way, creating a healthy environment for older Australians, or in a negative way, preventing older Australians from achieving their goals. State and Federal Governments have become increasingly aware of the needs of older Australians, ensuring that issues dealt with will remain in view of the public. People with differing sexual identities have been the subject of considerable prejudice over the past few decades, and have had to wait until recent years to enjoy life as part of a similar status to that of heterosexual communities. At an international level, rights of homosexuals have been somewhat recognised. However, individual nations have not been as positive in imposing domestic legislation in which international law is reflected throughout. "The legal definition of marriage in Australia is the voluntary union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others and for life," (HAMPER, ET AL p.345). Homosexual union is not legally recognised within Australia, and makes it not only difficult to hold a relationship as a homosexual couple, but experience any kind of 'normal' life. Other problems evident were 'a homosexual persons right to inherit a partner's estate'. It was not until the Property (Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (NSW) was introduced that some of these problems were overcome. ...read more.

Conclusion

Due to homosexuality being situated outside of the social 'norm', strongly discriminative views continue to exist amongst Australian society. Although homophobic views are held by a minority cluster of people, it is still difficult to endorse legislation that will defeat this. "People are generally aware that they should not make comments regarding a person's sexual identity. However, in the company of friends, with no authority present, these comments will still be made," (HAMPER, ET AL p.373). Stereotypical views of homosexual individuals and couples have been around for an extensive amount of time, and misleading presentations such as the media, have contributed to the prejudice that will take decades to overcome. Australia's response, both legal and non-legal, has varied extensively throughout the years. Particular groups, including 'the aged' and 'people of differing sexual identities' have been made subject to a considerable amount of discrimination because of it. Australia's legal system has attempted to create, change and abolish laws that conflict with an individual's rights, but have not always been successful in doing so. 'The aged' and 'people with differing sexual identities' are only two of many groups within Australian society who are subject to prejudice. By accepting each community within Australia as what they are, Australia as a country, and Australians as individuals, will be able to establish and maintain a healthy and positive environment for future generations. By Elizabeth Condon ?? ?? ?? ?? Elizabeth Condon ...read more.

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