Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
British pensioners pawns in dispute between Australian and British governments.

Download WordDownload Word



Media Release

Wayne Swan, MP (Member for Lilley)

Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services







The Howard government is using British pensioners as pawns in a politic al battle with the British government, Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Wayne Swan, said today. Senator Newman’s ultimatum to the British government that British pensioners coming to Australia will have their pension cut unless the British government pays up is desperate and pathetic. After years of failure in trying to negotiate an agreement with the British government, the Australian government is now resorting to punishing pensioners.


So much for Senator Newman’s negotiating skills. They must be about as effective as the Prime Minister’s in Japan and the United States.


This latest attack on the living standards of pensioners is the thin edge of the wedge for the hundreds of thousands of British pensioners living in Australia.


If the Howard government is prepared to cut the pensions of new arrivals, how long will it be before they are prepared to cut the pensions of British pensioners already living here.


Because the British government does not adjust the level of British pensions for inflation and wages growth, the Australian government has been forced to make top-ups.


Currently there are more than 200,000 British pensioners living in Australia who receiving the top-up payment.


If the Howard government goes ahead with this proposal it will effectively create two classes of British pensioners - pensioners who arrived before the government decision who will continue to receive a top up of their pension and those pensioners who arrived after the government decision.


This attack, which the Government is couching under the guise of talking tough to the British government is nothing more than a smoke screen for their continued attack on the living standards of all pensioners.


I urge all British pensioners living in Australia to closely study any proposals by Senator Newman. If the track record of this government is anything to go by it won’t be long before other pensioners are suffering.


ENDS Tuesday 13th July 99


Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329




al  1999-07-14  09:55