The NZers in this story probably have a legitimate gripe. If they’re paying taxes, they should be clear to receive the same associated benefits as every other taxpayer. The real story here is that rules limiting NZers’ access to Australian welfare payments were introduced to combat NZ’s own lax immigration rules.
Last time I left Brisbane airport, I was driven by a Nigerian taxi driver. I asked him how come he was working in Australia. He told me he had come to NZ, been given a NZ passport, and was therefore free to travel to Australia and work, thereby bypassing Australia’s strict immigration laws.
The NZer’s here have taken action using Australia’s racial discrimination laws. To me that raises another question. Since when has New Zealander been a race?
THEY may have fought alongside Australians at Gallipoli but Kiwis who decide to call this country home are not deemed worthy of government benefits. This means that 19-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Hannah Campbell, who has lived in Australia for five years, has been refused financial assistance to attend day care – even though her father, Dave, has been working as a Toowoomba bus driver and paying Australian taxes.
New Zealanders living here believe this amounts to racial discrimination. This claim has been acknowledged by Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission, which has ordered the Queensland government to enter mediation with Ms Campbell and her family. Significantly for the Campbells, the hearing was scheduled for the Anzac Day public holiday.
The Howard government blocked New Zealanders from receiving social security benefits a decade ago in an attempt to end backdoor immigration of Pacific Islanders and Hong Kong migrants moving to Australia via New Zealand. Under the Commonwealth Social Security Act, only permanent Australian residents are eligible for welfare including the dole, youth allowance and sickness benefits.
But New Zealanders do not fit the definition of Australian resident, because they do not need a permanent visa to live in Australia under the travel agreement permitting free movement between the countries. ”We’re entitled to live here permanently but we have less rights than everyone else,” Kiwi rights campaigner David Faulkner said. ”You should get social security because you’re human being living and working and paying taxes in Australia.”
The anomaly was highlighted by the recent spate of natural disasters. New Zealanders living in Queensland were ruled ineligible for the one-off disaster relief payments, until uproar across the Tasman forced the Australian government to hastily approve ex gratia payments for these victims. ”It was a Band-Aid solution for a systemic problem,” Mr Faulkner said.
Two hundred thousand New Zealanders have moved to Australia in the past 10 years, and Mr Faulkner says that up to half of them have been denied welfare. Kiwis find it particularly galling, given that Australians who move to New Zealand are eligible for benefits there.
Source- Brisbane Times