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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 17614

Mrs Crosio asked the Minister representing the Minister for Family and Community Services, upon notice, on 26 May 2003:

(1) Can the Minister outline the Government's policy position on the assessment of compensatory pensions, for the purposes of social security payments, of victims of political persecution.

(2) Is there a generic position, or are these pensions or payments assessed on a country by country basis.

Mr Anthony (Minister for Children and Youth Affairs) —The Minister for Family and Community Services has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) In general, unless they are specifically exempted under the Social Security Act, compensatory pensions paid to victims of political persecution are assessed as income for social security purposes.

Specific legislative exemptions have been made for:

ยท Amounts paid as compensation to victims of National Socialist (Nazi) persecution from Germany (1987) and Austria (1989).

As announced in the 2003 Budget, all payments made as compensation for Nazi persecution will be exempt from the social security income test, regardless of the country making the payment, with effect from 13 May 2003. This is subject to legislative approval.

In addition, as part of the proposed Social Security Agreement with Chile, Pensions of Mercy, paid to victims of the Pinochet regime, will be exempt from the income test. This is subject to legislative approval in both countries.

(2) The generic position is that all income is taken into account under the social security income test. Exemptions have been made as above.