February 27, 2017

The Turnbull Government wants to cut the pension for people who travel overseas for more than six weeks, with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation promising to vote for the cuts in the Senate. 

The Liberal Party and One Nation are now a team, with Malcolm Turnbull unwilling to say what John Howard said years ago – that One Nation should be preferenced last. Now we know why; it is because One Nation’s agenda and the Turnbull Government agenda are becoming more and more the same.

Malcolm Turnbull’s latest pension cuts will particularly hurt thousands of pensioners who spend time overseas to visit family or friends.

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia, Tony Burke says, “When pensioners have to spend more than 6 weeks overseas it’s often because a family member is unwell, and in many instances there is no one else who can care for them.”

“Cutting the Pension for people in this circumstance can put people in an impossible situation where they either have to abandon a relative or simply do not have enough money to get by.”                                                                             

Currently, pensioners can stay overseas for 26 weeks and receive their full pension. Following that time, the pension is reduced to a rate that depends on the number of years they have worked in Australia.

Under the Turnbull Government’s changes, pensioners will have their pension cut after just six weeks.

An estimated 190,000 migrant pensioners will be affected by this cut.  

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Jenny Macklin says, “There are many older Australians who left family or fled conflict on the other side of the world to build a better life in our country.

“This really is an unfair cut. They have spent decades working hard, paying taxes, raising families and making Australia a better place. They deserve the pension, just like any other eligible older Australian.”  

Labor voted against this cut in the House of Representatives last year and we will oppose it again.

Pauline Hanson approved of the cuts to pensions, saying “These people come here to Australia as migrants. They’re not here for a lengthy period of time. Then they get on the pension, and ‘oh I want to go live back in my country of origin’. And we are supporting that.”

This is minimising the huge contribution of migrants to Australia.

Pensioners deserve our respect and support in retirement. They do not deserve to be treated as a burden by Malcolm Turnbull and Pauline Hanson.