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Turnbull Cuts Hit Pensioner Migrants

BY FEDERAL MP JENNY MACKLIN and MICHELE ROWLANDS –  SIX WEEKS.  That’s  all  some Age pensioners will be able to spend overseas before  their Age is cut, under ne legislation proposed by the Turnbull Government

In other words, Malcolm Turnbull wants to make it harder for many pensioners to continue to receive their full pension whilst they are overseas.

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.

It’s a fair enough arrangement and it’s well understood.

But Malcolm Turnbull wants to change that, with a drastic cut to the time pensioners can spend overseas. His plan means that after just 6 weeks overseas, pensioners who worked in Australia for less than 35 years will have the rate of their pension reduced.

Around 40 percent of Australian pensioners were born overseas. That means Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to the pension will hurt 190,000 migrant pensioners

That’s unfair.

As the Chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Joe Caputo has rightly said:

“pensioners born overseas often needed to travel overseas for extended periods to stay in touch with family or to care for a sick or dying relative”.

Many pensioners save up for years to go on one big trip to visit family friends overseas.

Understandably, they expect to receive their pension for the bulk of this time.

We don’t think it’s unreasonable for migrant pensioners to go on one big trip to see their family and friends at the end of their working life.

Sydney pensioner, Sergio, is like thousands of other pensioners around Australia who rely on this measure to maintain contact with family.

With children overseas it is vitally important for him and his wife, Enza, to be able to travel abroad to spend time with their loved ones.

But for Sergio, who also has health concerns and cannot travel often, these changes will make it extremely difficult for him to visit his children. His wife worries it will increase their isolation.

Labor understands that migrant pensioners have worked hard their whole lives and deserve respect in their retirement. Instead, Mr Turnbull is treating pensioners like Sergio as a burden.

That’s why Labor voted against these changes that will hit migrant pensioners.

It’s also why Labor opposed the Liberals’ plan to cut pension indexation, increase the pension age to 70 and cut a $1 billion from pensioner concessions.

Labor will always put people first – that’s why Labor is standing up for pensioners by opposing Mr Turnbull’s cuts to the pension.