Same-sex pensioners set to suffer under law reform
Homosexual Law Reform proposed by the Rudd Government to end discriminatory practices with regard to pensions still has a long way to go according to Mannie De Saxe of Melbourne Lesbian and Gay Solidarity.
According to Mannie "the Federal Government is about to inflict a new method of elder abuse on the Gay Lesbian Transgender and HIV/AIDS communities, particularly those least able to defend themselves against this new form of discrimination, homophobia and other forms of abuse by targeting same-sex aged, disabled and other disadvantaged most vulnerable people."
"This new abuse inflicts outing, public declarations, income reduction and other disadvantages on these groups because the Government refuses to provide a grandfather clause in the legislation which provides improvements in conditions for same-sex partnerships with changes to nearly 100 pieces of legislation."
Emily Gray of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) said that elderly same-sex couples have been denied access to a variety of entitlements during the course of their working life and have therefore planned for retirement from a disadvantaged financial position. “Now retired, they’ll receive none or little of the benefits of these reforms, while experiencing significant financial burden,” Ms Gray says. “Also of concern is that Centrelink’s process of assessing whether someone is a member of a couple will be unavoidably distressing for many older same-sex couples.” she said.
ACON CEO stevie Clayton said “We’re not asking for anything that hasn’t been provided to others in the past and given this whole process is about ending discrimination, it would be unfortunate if the Government elected not to offer the same protection to our community as has been afforded to others.”
=======Open Letter by Manne Saxe sent to several media and polticians =======
ELDER ABUSE - Federal Government attacks some of the most vulnerable members of the community
7 April 2009
Elder abuse has been well documented in recent years, covering areas such as abuse in nursing homes, abuse by carers, abuse by partners such as domestic violence, abuse by institutions and abuse by those responsible for management of care for the elderly, frail, sick, disabled.
Elder abuse of the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) communities has also started to be documented in recent years, and horror reports by researchers such as Dr Jo Harrison, researcher of gay and lesbian gerontology, have uncovered instances of abuse to which those in local government and other governmental levels have turned blind eyes in many instances, or in fact have been guilty of inflicting themselves.
Now, in 2009, the Federal Government is about to inflict a new method of elder abuse on the GLTH communities, particularly those least able to defend themselves against this new form of discrimination, homophobia and other forms of abuse by targeting same-sex aged, disabled and other disadvantaged most vulnerable people.
This new abuse inflicts outing, public declarations, income reduction and other disadvantages on these groups because the Government refuses to provide a grandfather clause in the legislation which provides improvements in conditions for same-sex partnerships with changes to nearly 100 pieces of legislation.
In effect, this elder abuse means inflicting hardship on people who have lived their lives with the hardships imposed by the homophobic world in which they have lived, a world which has denied them the same human rights which heterosexual members of the community have taken for granted as their right in our society.
Because so many have remained living as homosexuals in secret, the psychological and physical impacts as well as the other impacts of outing them are too numerous to contemplate. These are people who have had to try to finance their plans for old age in ways which would be foreign to heterosexuals, and who in many instances will now have their support structures torn away from them because of the new legislation.
This is elder abuse writ large and for which the government will be held responsible for the awful situations inflicted on those least able to protect themselves, all this at a time of financial crisis in local and global economies which will affect us all.
All these hardships will be avoided by the inclusion of a grandfather clause to assist some of the most disadvantaged of our elderly GLTH population -- those already in their 70s, 80s and older.
You wouldn't do this to your own families, would you?
Mannie De Saxe
* Draft Paper - February 11, 2009 - Changes to Social Security legislation in Australia and it's effects on Same Sex Couples
* ACON Media Release - February 24, 2009 - Health and Welfare Orgs seek pension protection for elderly same-sex couples