The legislation change to Age Pension portability passed the Lower House of Parliament yesterday with an 87–56 vote. If the changes pass through the Upper House, the number of weeks an Age Pension recipient can be outside Australia before their payments are affected will be reduced from 26 weeks to six.
Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland has called the changes to portability “downright mean”, suggesting that they unfairly target pensioners who have worked hard all their lives to deserve such benefits.
YourLifeChoices’ Editor Debbie McTaggart doesn’t agree with Ms Rowland’s views, “While reducing the time a person can be absent from Australia from 26 weeks to six weeks seems extreme, it’s worth remembering that the payment being made is an Australian Age Pension. It’s not a payment meant to fund lifestyles overseas or extended travel, but rather support those who do not have the savings to fund their own retirement.”
Social Services Minister Christian Porter suggested that implementing such changes to reduce the cost of social services was a vital part of returning the budget to surplus.