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Wednesday, 11 April 1973
Page: 1348

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - I move:

After clause15 add the following new clause: 16. (1) Where the Director-General is satisfied that a person has become resident in Australia solely or mainly for the purpose of establishing eligibility for a pension, he may determine that some or all of any pension for which that person has become eligible should not be paid while that person is absent from Australia.

(2)   Where a person in receipt of a pension is also in receipt of or is eligible for a pension, benefit or superannuation in some country other than Australia, and in the opinion of the Director-General that pension, benefit or superannuation corresponds to his pension in Australia, then the Director-General may determine that some or all of his Australian pension should not be payable while he is absent from Australia.

(3)   The operation of this section shall not affect any pension payable under section 13 of this Act.

This clause is meant to protect the taxpayer and revenue, to stop the plunder of the Treasury and to stop exploitation. At the same time, it will protect the migrant community from any possible backlash which might come not from the people who at present are in Australia but from people who might otherwise come to Australia for the purpose of receiving a pension and taking it overseas. 1 think this is of considerable importance. Let us consider, for example, the many thousands - indeed, many tens of thousands - of people who have lived in Australia, perhaps as children, and are now resident in either New Zealand or the United Kingdom. These people in the United Kingdom certainly would be eligible, if they have the other qualifications, for a United Kingdom pension. Admittedly the United Kingdom pension is much smaller than the Australian pension unless they build it up with graduated contributions, but they ure eligible for that pension. If these people elect to return to Australia and have a holiday here in their homeland for only a year they can go back to the United Kingdom and take with them a permanent Australian pension which would be payable in addition to their United Kingdom pension. This. I am sure, is not what the Minister had in mind, because why should an expatriate be placed in a better position with respect to a pension than an Australian? Why should it be possible for an Australian who has elected to live abroad almost permanently to be able to return to Australia for a little time and double his pension - get the 2 pensions? This is, I think, in the nature of things, entirely wrong.

There is also the question of possible abuse with the widow's pensions. I am not talking about the genuine widow whose husband has died but about the notional or nominal widow who has been divorced, or has divorced or has been separated. She is a widow for widow's pension purposes and, indeed, there may be more than that because the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden) announced some time ago that he would give the widow's pension to the mothers of illegitimate children. I am told that he will not call them widow's pension. They will be on the widow's pension rates but they will be called 'supportive services', a name which I think would not altogether commend itself to Womens Lib: but never mind that. If the Minister carries out the intention which he expressed in his original Press statement and pays the widow's pension to these people it seems likely that we will have many women coming to Australia for the purpose of giving birth and having their offspring qualified, or qualifying themselves, for widow's pensions. They would have only to remain here for a short time - I do not know quite how long but 1 think that probably under the Bill, as it is drawn, they would only have to remain for one year or perhaps less. If my amendment to proposed new section 83ae had been accepted they would have had to remain here for 5 years in order to qualify. These are very difficult matters and one does not want in any way to be ungenerous but because the period has been shortened from 20 years to

JO years-

Consideration interrupted.

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