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Thursday, 5 April 1973
Page: 1152

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (Minister for Social Security) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill, the second amending social services Bill to be introduced in the current session, is designed to give effect to the election policy speech undertaking of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) that pensioners receiving age and invalid pensions, including wives' pensions, or widows' pensions in Australia will be able to receive those pensions wherever they choose to live. This right to unlimited transferability of pensions will not depend on the negotiation of reciprocal agreements with other countries; consequently, the limitations on the period of travel which now apply in respect of pensioners moving between Australia and the countries with which we have reciprocal pension portability agreements will no longer operate. Moreover, special residence qualifications will no longer be required for portability of pensions.

The substance of this Bill represents a radical departure from the present arrangements for what is called portability of social security pensions. Under the present arrangements for portability to occur - that is the right to draw

Australian pension benefits outside of this country - a pensioner has in general to have been resident in Australia for at least 20 years after reaching the age of 16 and additionally can only attract portability rights in 4 countries: Italy, Greece, Turkey and Malta. There are also long-standing reciprocal social security benefit rights for Australians in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. These are comprehensive reciprocal rights as distinct from pension portability.

The extension of portability rights beyond the limited number of countries mentioned was dependent on increasing the number of countries with which reciprocal arrangements could be established. The last Minister for Social Services certainly embarked on such an objective but the results were not equal to the enthusiasm with which he set about this task, as the following table shows. I seek leave to have the table incorporated in Hansard.

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