Older Australians are demanding commitments to world class care, financial security, support for mature age workers and an end to ageism from both sides of politics in the lead up to the federal election.

Launching their demands, Seniors Vote 2010, at the start of an intense two-week marginal seats campaign, National Seniors Australia chief executive, Michael O'Neill, challenged this year's contenders to demonstrate their commitment to older voters.

"How significant are the over-50s to you and what policies and plans do you have for them?" he asked.

"We're hearing a lot about boats and schools but where's dental health and aged care? Both are at crisis point and no one's talking about them. Is it that these issues aren't sexy or are they just too hard?

"Older Australians are looking for real leadership - a government with the courage to tackle the tough, not populist, issues," he said.

"Looking after grandkids or helping their children into a crippling housing market, the over-50s are an integral part of today's working family. There can be no going forward or standing up for real action without them," he said.

Drawn from the membership grassroots, National Seniors' election demands cover four areas:

- World Class Care encompasses subacute, respite, dental and aged care. Each of these is an integral part of the health system, cannot be considered in isolation and is in desperate need of attention.

- Financial Security includes adequate retirement incomes for both current and future retirees. It covers superannuation, pensions and senior-specific concessions to alleviate mounting cost of living pressures.

- Support for Older Workers recognises that the over-50s who want to remain in the workforce continue to face both legislative and attitudinal obstacles. Recommendations include the removal of discriminatory age limits and incentives for employers to maintain an older workforce.

- Eliminating Ageism calls on government to lead the way in how, as a nation, we frame the ageing debate. It stresses that not only do the over-50s contribute billions formally and informally to the economy but they are a vital part of today's working family.

Seniors Vote was launched today in the key seat of Brisbane, an inner city electorate with changed electoral boundaries and a high profile Greens candidate.

It is the first of 12 marginal seat forums during which seniors will get to grill their local candidates face-to-face. Forums will also be held in Bennelong, Eden Monaro, Paterson (NSW); Longman, Ryan, Bowman (Qld); Deakin, La Trobe (Vic); Hasluck (WA); Sturt (SA); and Bass (Tasmania).

The seniors vote is 45 per cent of the Australian electorate. Of that, 25 percent or 1.5 million are undecided.

With almost 300,000 members - working and retired - across the country, National Seniors is the consumer lobby for older Australians. It is the fourth largest group of its kind in the world.

National Seniors Australia

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