Executive Diary

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Providing thoughts for this column can often be a challenge. ‘Writers block’ sets in until inspiration appears – often in an unexpected way, sometimes with the convergence of events.

So it was in three days in September - the release of a report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, two National Seniors events,  the election of a new Prime Minister and the chance exposure to an old musical favourite.

The Institute of Family Studies report used the results of an ABS survey of 27,000 people to reflect on how we navigate through the seven major transitions of life. It also examined whether life satisfaction changes as people get older. The research found that both men and women had overall satisfaction ratings above seven, on a scale of one to 10.

It found that in the retirement phase, satisfaction remains steady initially but then after the first year improves for both men and women.

Our own research confirms the importance of socialising in the retirement phase. In current encouraging discussions with superannuation groups looking to adapt to more members entering the draw down phase, there is a greater recognition of the importance of the human side of preparing for retirement.

Socialisation was reinforced during September when I attended a really vibrant National Seniors branch in Coffs Harbour and a hugely enjoyable and engaging Zone Conference in Perth. (Following on from a reference in my last column to a centenarian –Coffs Harbour celebrated the presence of their own 102 year old, Keith Dawson, at the meeting.)

Both events reflected the strength of a strong gathering point for people to share the serious and the not-so-serious, the adventures and opportunities that contribute to life satisfaction.

The evening before the Perth Conference saw the transition to a new Prime Minister. I do not go to the issue of the change but I do record the subsequent observation by many ordinary men and women of all ages, of a desire for a national leadership that is optimistic, focussed on opportunities, committed to meaningful change and able to relegate divisiveness  to yesterday.

In the flush of victory, the new PM spoke of vision and opportunity – time will tell whether that can be delivered - and not just by one side of politics.

To complete the convergence whilst driving and searching for a musical offering to take me into the day, who bobs up but the robed, bearded and irreverent Monty Python gang and their classic Always look on the bright side.

Itrang true, completing the convergence – satisfaction with life even as we navigate the highs and lows, recognising social contact and the desire for optimism in our outlook.

So let’s close with a whistle or a hum…

Some things in life are really bad

They can really make you mad

Other things just make you swear and curse….

Don’t grumble, give a whistle…always look on the bright side of life… (Whistle)

Constitution changes

At the November AGM, it is proposed to amend the National Seniors Constitution. The Constitution was last amended in November 2013.

Currently, directors may only serve three terms of three years (a total of nine years) and then retire from the Board permanently.

In order for more flexibility  in succession planning, it is proposed that for a director who has three terms, their term could be extended for one year only at the discretion of the Board and approval of the National Council at the AGM.

In order for the Constitution to be amended, a special resolution is required to be approved by the National Council. This special resolution will be brought forward at the AGM in November and will require 75% of National Council members to agree in order for it to be passed.

Click here for further information.

This article by National Seniors chief executive Michael O'Neill originally appeared in the October/November 2015 edition of 50 something magazine.

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