I trust that this finds you well. My name is Michael Pyers and I am a 54 year old Australian Citizen. My journey has taken me away from Australia for many years. I have been living and working in the Middle East since 2008 and worked for the one company Kentz throughout that time as Regional HR Director and Group Industrial Relations Manager. My company was in the Oil and Gas Industry and was acquired by another company in 2014 so the perfect storm of declining oil price and company acquisition led to me being laid off in December 2016 after nine years service . So that our son now 17 could finish his education at his current school. I have started up my own consultancy business in Bahrain where we live and I still look at suitable roles both in Australia and internationally though I must admit that getting this business moving is my major focus. Although there is a long way to go in the journey of my business, Total HR and Employee Relations and to say it is successful, I consider myself fortunate to have had this opportunity.
Although I have been away from Australia for a number of years Prime Minister I am an avid follower of all things in the Australian political process and I was impressed with and proud of the way that, particularly after the results of the postal ballot were known, the Australian Parliament was able to act decisively and settle the same - sex marriage issue . A part of the law where people were being discriminated against was rectified.
However, the need for leadership on issues of discrimination remain Prime Minister and and I want, with this letter, to highlight the issue of age discrimination to you particularly from the point of view of the older worker. Many people are doing a lot of fine work on the issue and Susan Ryan AO's report on the Older Worker in 2016 has highlighted the fact that Ageism is alive and well despite the laws that are in place. It is certainly not my intention to reinvent the wheel merely to stress that issue of Age Discrimination, regardless of whether you are 18 or 80, requires a similar level of debate and attention. I also wish to offer some observations based on personal experience and emphasise that, from where I sit here in Bahrain where I have applied for roles myself and tried to help people who are doing the same thing it is very much an international issue.
My own personal observations are these. We live in age of contradiction where on the one hand you have economic growth and high levels of profit and people being laid off on the other which is primarily down to two things. Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring and Technological Change. Whenever you look at the labour law, anywhere in the world, redundancy is meant to be no fault termination. Those who are laid off did not commit an act of misconduct and nor were they subject to an ethics investigation but despite not committing a crime they do the time. This would be well and good if the recruitment system was working. I got laid off in 2004-2005 in Australia and found a new job in 3 weeks but sadly, with the introduction of technological change into the recruitment process in the form of applicant tracking software, you now have interesting phenomenon such as resume black holes and it takes a lot longer. These are the challenges that all people looking for employment, particularly after being laid off, face. The challenges are further amplified when you are over 50. Despite the fact you have all that hard won experience to offer that is disregarded and you are met with a range of cliches such as " you are overqualified" which is contrary to logic. It is sad to note Prime Minister that this is going on despite laws to the contrary and to make someone feel somehow a lesser person merely because of something they had no control over, their date of birth is , to say the least, unfortunate.
One of the major tenant's of Australian labour law, as we know, is the " Fair Go All Round Test" set out by Sheldon J in Re Loty and Holloway v Australian Workers' Union  AR (NSW) 95. I started in Industrial Relations in Australia in the 1980's when the legislation was called the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 . I can tell you that this test has been burnt into my memory since then and will remain so for the rest of my life. Unfortunately Prime Minister there is a significant group not receiving a fair go and this issue is an international problem.
So to use an analogy to our national game, cricket it may be time to put the pads on again Prime Minister and do what you can to rectify this particular issue. For my part I need to continue to work hard to make this business a success.
It remains for me to wish you and your family a very pleasant 2018