A proud 64-year-old Wakka Wakka man has launched a Federal Court case against the Morrison Government, in a bid to lower the Pension Age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People by at least three years.

Uncle Dennis says given the nine-year difference in life expectancy between First Nations people and non-Indigenous people it is unjust to expect mob to wait for their pension considering many will die before they finish working.

“As an Aboriginal man, I’ve seen too many of my people dying at a very early age. We are lucky to get to 50 years old,” Uncle Dennis said in a statement.

“White people are living longer because they haven’t lost what we have lost. So many things that Aboriginal people are suffering from today, are because of how we have been treated since colonisation. 

“It’s only fair for the pension age to be lowered. The pension is an important part of caring for and looking after our people when they can’t work anymore. 

“But this isn’t just about money. Things will never get better unless we acknowledge something is wrong. Truth and accountability are important. This case is about telling the truth, and asking the Government to work together with us, to give our people the same chance in life as everyone else.”  

Uncle Dennis is bringing the landmark case before the Federal Court of Australia under the Racial Discrimination Act, with the help of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Human Rights Law Centre, with support from DLA Piper. 

Lee-Anne Carter is a Wiradjuri, Noongar woman from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, and says at present less than 1% of people receiving the Age Pension are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 

Lee-Anne Carter speaking with NIRS News.

Senior Advisor to the Human Rights Law Centre and Yorta Yorta woman, Meena Singh said until we have equality in life expectancy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be able to access the pension earlier.

Meena Singh speaking with NIRS News.