Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will make an official visit this week. (Photo: Doug Sherring)
16 February 2017
English must keep pushing for a fairer deal for Kiwis in Australia
Last year, Prime Ministers Key and Turnbull announced the creation of a new pathway to citizenship for some of the roughly 200,000 New Zealand citizens permanently residing in Australia with restricted rights.
While this ‘solution’ to a long festering sore in our countries’ otherwise close relationship amounted to little more than a bandaid, leaving many with no prospect of gaining citizenship and offering nothing to new arrivals, it was still a significant step forward.
‘Bill English must pick up where John Key left off and continue to fight for a better deal for Kiwis in Australia,’ said Oz Kiwi chairman Timothy Gassin.
‘The New Zealand Government cannot simply act as if this issue has been resolved once and for all. It hasn’t been. If it does not work to find a more lasting solution, many of the serious social problems that have been caused by current Australian policies will continue and worsen. It is in the interests of both governments to resolve this issue quickly and comprehensively.’
While a comprehensive solution will not be achieved overnight, Oz Kiwi calls on Bill English to use tomorrow’s meeting to push Malcolm Turnbull to:
- ensure that the exemptions promised for those experiencing hardship (e.g. domestic violence victims) under the new visa scheme are clear and meaningful, rather than based only on vague assurances about the use of ‘ministerial discretion’
- commit to review the new visa scheme soon after its rollout with the aim of extending it to all New Zealanders who settle in Australia, regardless of arrival date
- commit to a timetable to extend NDIS coverage to all New Zealanders in Australia. Non-protected SCV New Zealanders are the only people being stripped of eligibility for disability services under the NDIS and are the only group to pay the NDIS levy who are denied access to the Scheme.
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16 February 2017