Age Pension: portability changes in limbo

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With only four days left before Parliament rises, all eyes may be on the Government’s ABCC bill, but what about the legislation that could affect 81,000 pensioners?

It was the reason that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution of Parliament leading to the Federal Election in July, yet it seems we’re no closer to the passing of the legislation to introduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Aside from the bill being unpopular with the Opposition, Independent senator Nick Xenophon has vowed that Team Xenaphon Senators will boycott voting on this and any other bills until the dispute over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is resolved.

The Government has managed to meet the demands of other crossbench senators in regards to the ABCC legislation but, if no agreement can be reached, with the three Team Xenophon senators, it could derail the final few days of Parliament.

And this is bad news for pensioners left in limbo as to the passing, or not, of legislation to alter portability rules for those who plan to spend part of their retirement years overseas. Currently, a recipient of the Age Pension can be outside Australia for 26 weeks and still receive most of their Age Pension payment. However, legislation, which passed the Lower House in February this year, would see those who travel outside Australia for more than six weeks have their payments subjected to the work life residency rule.

The new rules are scheduled to commence from 1 January 2017, leaving many pensioners in limbo as to how long they can remain overseas before their Age Pension is affected.  The legislation would need to be voted on and passed by the Senate in the next four days. Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon have all stated their opposition to the changes, so the legislation may not pass even if put to a vote.

Read more at AFR.com.au
Read the full list of current Senate bills

Opinion: Delay in vote unfair for those in need

When the proposed changes to the Age Pension portability were first announced, I made it quite clear what I thought. I’m firmly in the camp which believes that the working life residency is a good measure for giving back to those who have contributed. If you have lived and worked in Australia for the full 35 years required to retain your full pension payment then it is indeed deserved. And if your pension is paid pro rata because you haven’t lived and worked in the country long enough, then that’s fair too.

However, many people don’t share this view and that’s OK. Frank is just one YourLifeChoices member for whom the changes will be detrimental. So much so that he took the time to write and tell us just how worse off he would be under the new rules.

Many people are split on the proposed changes to Age Pension portability but fairness arguments aside, legislation that affects people’s retirement incomes at a very basic level should take precedence over a building commission about which few people actually care. Leaving people like Frank in limbo is neither fair nor just. It has been nine months since the legislation passed the Lower House yet the Government now seems to have little interest in progressing a bill that is likely to be voted down in the Upper House.

The Government’s sense of achievement at successfully passing the superannuation changes could be short-lived, with the next four days in Parliament likely to be an exercise in futility. And that’s not good for anyone, except retired MPs, who will be able to keep their Gold Passes over the Christmas break, because Malcolm Turnbull is too busy to follow through on the pledge Tony Abbott made when PM.

What do you think? Given its impending start date, should the changes to Age Pension portability have been prioritised for this sitting of Parliament? Will you be affected by these changes if they pass the Senate? Do you think that reducing Age Pension portability is necessary?

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Two-year residency rule

The two-year residency rule is causing Dale some confusion.

Written by Debbie McTaggart

70 Comments

Total Comments: 70
  1. 0
    0

    Just another example of the arrogance and superiority complex of Australian politicians. Your article is correct of course.
    I live overseas but worked in Australia for more than 40 years before receiving the pension and making that decision purely on economic reasons. I paid income/gst taxes, state taxes etc. all my life and feel I have an entitlement to retire where I wish.
    The position of those with less years of contribution has also been adequately considered as I see it. The legislation should be passed before they rise for their ‘extended holiday’ – oh to be a politician, what a rort.

    • 0
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      I read the conditions of getting an age pension and living outside Australia mogo51 and I fail to see why you are getting upset. According to the rules you can live wherever you choose without any penalty as you have worked, and contributed tax, for more than 35 years.

      To those who have chosen to emigrate to Australia and work for less than 35 years and then expect a full pension should they choose to spend time outside Australia, is a bit rich. At least the proposed legislation allows a pro rata payment.

    • 0
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      Haven’t bothered to comment on this site for a long time for the very reason I have chosen to comment now, i.e. the presence of LNP trolls masquerading as something else. An LNP staffer with lots of taxpayer paid hours on hand and unlimited access to the Government’s propaganda machine doesn’t represent the view of those affected by changes that claw back money from those who are heavily reliant on the Age Pension to make ends meet in their twilight years. Wouldn’t you agree “OLD MAN”?

    • 0
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      A VERY OBSERVANT PICK UP THERE terry 🙂 🙂

    • 0
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      Softly, softly, catchee tiger…. I like to run my agents on a long string and wait for them to trip…….

  2. 0
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    What a joke they are still trying to penalise pensioners when they still give the right to all present and past parliamentarians to free travel while taxpayers fund it the reason and lame excuse they have no time in this year to stop it,what do they have to do ? Nothing much just pull the plug on them rorting the system nothing to hard for these bunch of morons ,but of course the busiest time of the year ahead,and enjoy the holidays and these parliamentarians can still get away free of costs for a holiday overseas or where ever at no cost to them,what a joke as usual the tax payers pick up the costs for these people to holiday wherever they choose all because they don’t have the time to stop this shame on you morons,whinge about not having enough money,yet allowing this to all poloticans free travel shame on you clowns for not taking the time to pass legislation to stop all the free travel

    • 0
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      We’re all well and truly sick of it Biddy.

      So, what are you going to do about it??

      Try and let us know soon, so that we can rest assured you will get the problem fixed quickly, and our lives will be easier.

    • 0
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      Biddy we need to let them know there will be winners and losers in the next election and this time make sure there are.

  3. 0
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    This Outright DISCRIMINATION!
    Nothing more & Nothing Less….and it doesn’t pass the Smell Test of Corruption by ANY GOVERNMENT!
    Basically it’s a Penalty that removes a Person’s rights as a Citizen of CHOICE!
    This Government is treating it’s retired with Direspect!

    • 0
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      I can’t agree NSY, the Government is not removing a citizen’s choice but merely stating what the rules will be should a citizen make a choice that will affect their pension. If a citizen chooses to return to work and earn more than the allowable income whilst receiving an age pension, the pension will be affected.

    • 0
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      Hence the Trebor Party Policy – pay the pension, tax the income over and above… simplifies everything and reels in the fat cats who’ve had a good run for life and want it that way forever, especially the past politicians on their good wicket, who still imagine they can stand up and we should take notice of them.

      After all they’ve done to us…………

    • 0
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      Id put them all in Whiteanimo Bay !! 🙂 🙂

    • 0
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      I think Bairdie sold off ‘The Ranch’ (LBJ Ranch), otherwise known as Longtanamo Bay Jail…….

    • 0
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      This site needs a LIKE Button 🙂 Or a Thumbs UP Thumbs DOWN Buttons 🙂 🙂

  4. 0
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    Debbie, you tell us how the legislation could affect up to 81,000 pensioners but this is quite vague. What is the percentage of pensioners possibly affected? How many of those possibly affected are age pensioners? What is the actual $$$ effect? Do some get more and some get less? I believe this is bad journalism as it gives just enough of a story to raise fear in pensioners who will never be affected.

    • 0
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      You are obviously not affected Old Man and you do not mind who else is penalised. You are trying to defend the indefensible. Debbie’s article is very worthwhile.

    • 0
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      I don’t dispute what you say Alex. Maybe the article is worthwhile and a clarification may prove that.My point is that the article smacks of sloppy, lazy journalism. I think we deserve better in this forum.

    • 0
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      Thanks for the comment Old Man, we can only report was is provided by the Government and 81,000 is the number of people currently receiving the Age Pension without having the 35 years work life residency. In regards to how many it affects, that depends on how many wish to travel overseas for more than six weeks – a figure that can’t be defined without asking each and every one what exactly their travel plans are.

    • 0
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      Yes old man. Sorry you are perfectly entitled to criticize Debbie’s article. I jumped in without really digesting what was said. While I am not affected by these changes I just do not see how they can justify retrospective changes that affect people who have tried to get their affairs in order after retirement with new rules they are making up on the run. They were very particular not to make retrospective changes that would affect maximum contributions of over $1.6 million for those who already had that amount. They have shown absolutely not respect at all for retirees especially those who are struggling. They have beaten them down and down again.

    • 0
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      Thank you Debbie, I am not a journalist but a quick check gives an idea about how many people, on average, travel abroad from Australia. About 31% of Australians each year travel abroad although about 23% (or 6.1million) are there for short term stays. The median trip is 15 days.

      If we use those percentages in relation to age pensioners, about 25,000 will travel overseas and of those, about 6,200 will stay longer. It can be seen that a very small group is materially affected.

    • 0
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      I’m concerned about 35 years of working life – that means most would have to arrive here by age 30 or so… just saying… what does a certified refugee over forty do then? Get nothing?

    • 0
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      Well TREBOR, a certified refugee over 40 can get an age pension and can also travel outside Australia but will receive a reduced age pension for the period over 6 weeks. If they arrive aged 40 and work 27 years, they will have their pension reduced to 27/35ths of what they normally receive. The problem seems to be that some of the contributors to this site would have you believe that the age pension is cut off from the 1st day on leaving Australia.

    • 0
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      Ah – that clears that up for me… thanks, OM.

  5. 0
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    They are also planning to raise taxes on retirees and pensioners in the next Budget as John Daley was pushing on their behalf last week. Some of us voted this lot back in and also Pauline Hanson who supports their cuts to pensioners.
    We need to make sure they understand that in the next election there will be ‘winners and losers’ to quote the Prime Minister and that he and the LNP will definitely be the losers if there are any more attacks on the elderly. We will move Hell and Highwater to see them gone. Let them know this early and often.

    • 0
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      Alex

      I find it interesting the One Nation has as its POLICY platform an
      INCREASE to the Age Pension of $100 per Fortnight for Single Age Pensioners and $150 per Fornight for Couples, and yet they VOTE in the Parliament as if they have forgotten this Policy.

      Perhaps I will remind them, again

    • 0
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      To No Avail 🙁 🙁

    • 0
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      I think that we need to ensure that those we place in the category of ‘losers’ next time don’t get to walk away with a golden handshake for trying to push Pensioners into an early grave.

      That includes Hanson, who already in her past short sting of thirteen months, managed to walk off with ten times my then super fund – the result of my working thirteen years.

      They also want to include your family home and chop you off for earning that over a lifetime.

      We need to bring these bastards down to the same level and watch them squirm to survive under a never-ending change to their income packages for life.

      New government needed…..

    • 0
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      Alex, I recall the article where John Daley from the Grattan Institute had given an opinion on what he thinks should be done. I don’t recall the government ever discussing Daley’s thought bubble let alone making plans to implement anything. It is noted that a spokesperson from the Grattan Institute has today made comment about taking funds off private schools to give to disadvantaged schools. Again, this is a personal point of view by an individual which has no merit in the real world of education.

    • 0
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      OM – I’m leaning towards the view that the Grate-On Institute is nothing more than a flag runner up for various ideas – toss that dead rat up the pole and see who salutes it….. then if the response is negative on YLC or OzPol or whatever – and the Guv do monitor these popular sites through flunkies and cut-outs – the idea is quietly shelved…………………….. until next time……………. on the back burner……………………. but not dead cremated and buried….

    • 0
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      Rodent,
      This is simply the result of voting for an Independent or a minor party which some people like to advocate. Hanson and her ilk are able to promise the world and half of Tasmania because they have no means of getting any legislation through the Parliament. Come next election when they are reminded, it will be the fault of Government, regardless of which side is in power, and a promise to do it all over again.

    • 0
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      It seems to me that at the moment there is a window of opportunity for the “grey voters.” The last election showed the distrust of both sides of the political spectrum by the success of the minor parties, with the result that we now have a lame duck government which is doomed to failure.

      Now is the time for the grey voters to show their power by selecting a party and then offering their votes in exchange for a better deal. This could help the national interest, because such an arrangement would almost certainly produce a government with a workable majority.

      We have stood back for too long and watched vocal minority groups cleverly manipulate the government to their benefit, so think what a large group of grey voters could achieve.

  6. 0
    0

    It is not appropriate to make retrospective changes to pension rules. There was a big outcry when there was a proposal to change the limits on the maximum amount of money high income people could contribute to super and Mr Shorten took the high moral ground about retrospective changes. However that principle is sadly absent when it comes to changes in rules that affect low It is not appropriate to make retrospective changes to pension rules. There was a big outcry when there was a proposal to change the limits on the maximum amount of money high income individuals could contribute to super and Mr Shorten took the high moral ground about retrospective changes. However that principle is sadly absent when it comes to changes in rules that affect low income people and those on the pension. Changes should not be retrospective. 35 years is a long time. 30 years is the usual requirement for full pension contributions elsewhere.income people and those on the pension. Changes should not be retrospective. 35 years is a long time. 30 years is the usual requirement for full pension contributions elsewhere.

  7. 0
    0

    I hope they All Promise not to come back again ! 🙂 But then we all know what a Polly’s Promise is 🙁 🙁

  8. 0
    0

    Thank you Rodent. Pauline needs a strong reminder of who she represents. She has a history of supporting very right wing policies that disadvantage poorer people from her time in Qld Parliament. She has the same attitude to pensioners and retirees that she does to migrants.

  9. 0
    0

    Rising tide of illiteracy – BATED breath, as in ABATED…. we’re not trying to catch a fish…..

    I once made a little cash on a movie set in New Zuland, and my book royalties come from Uncle Samland… where I pay tax as well… Fiji – well – let’s just say I made no money there….

  10. 0
    0

    What I require of this and all government here is the right to live overseas if I wish or sail the seven seas, without losing my pittance of a retirement income – after years of putting up with their lies, chicanery, shifting the goal posts, their social disasters foisted on me and many others, and their dismal economic and infrastructural records that have left this country in a parlous state……

    I have one golden rule in life – I do nothing to you – you do nothing to me or face the consequences.

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