Discrimination on grounds of age will be unlawful in Western Australia if the Government's Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill 1992 is enacted by Parliament.
The Bill was given its second reading in the Legislative Council today by Attorney General Joe Berinson, representing Justice Minister David Smith.
A queue of legislation in the Legislative Assembly was the reason for the Bill being second-read in the Upper House.
"There is no doubt that there is increasing support within the community for legislation to make discrimination based on age unlawful," Mr Berinson said.
"Such discrimination follows from stereotypical images of people being `too young' to be responsible, or `too old' to be productive and capable."
Mr Berinson instanced examples of age discrimination, including:
· a man in his 20s refused a job driving a petrochemical truck on the basis that he was too young;
· landlords refusing to rent to young people because of the notion that all young people are irresponsible with a tendency to throw wild and noisy parties;
· a woman in her 40s refused a managerial position;
· a man of 50 considered too old to learn.
"Legislation to make age discrimination unlawful can serve to alter or modify unreasonable perceptions that are held of the young and the old," Mr Berinson said.
"At the same time, the Bill provides for exceptions that are informed by common sense.
"For example, it provides an exception for persons of a certain age being required for a part in a play or film, and for competitive sport between persons of a particular age.
"Limits are also required for the protection of minors, such as in making it unlawful for them to purchase liquor.
"Similarly, it will not be unlawful to provide bona fide benefits to a person on the ground of age in areas such as accommodation and access to places and vehicles.
"To ensure the absolute independence of the judiciary, a permanent exemption covers the appointment and retirement of judges, magistrates and justices of the peace."