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."

Related:Protecting Same-Sex Pensioners | Changes to Social Security legislation in Australia and it's effects on Same Sex Couples

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

Background:

* 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

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same sex recognition only benifits the new wealthy middle class

This same sex recognition only benifits the new wealthy, middle class gay, the only ones that are visible. It shafts the rest of us. Once we had a safety net for the vulnerable in our communities, they were at least able to count on centrelink. the old, the young and the sick are the losers here and they have all been betrayed by gay advocacy, our own organisations undermining the security of our weak, betraying us so they can manage their fat assed property rights. What about those that don't have property, what about those couples who are struggling with HIV. Even though infection rates go up, the vacuous pretty white boys with the gym subscriptions in the expensive bars know nothing about it. HIV embarrasses this new generation of apolitical gays, so they desert and betray the guys who paved the way for them.
I'm done with it! All these wealthy gays aping heteros, it's not our similarity to dominant society, its our difference that has made us the once formidable political force we once were, take that away and there is no gay culture anymore. Gay people have done this, it's not the Govt. Selfish, thoughtless gays.

Foucault said modern gays came into existence in the late 19th century, well it ended on July the 1st in Australia. yet again we're betrayed by the fat middle classes. I sucede, after 20 years of struggling as a HIV positive man who has always held values of community high I give up, they can have gay, i'm something else now. they embarrass me

Re: Same-sex pensioners set to suffer under law reform

Ray you have HIV do you see why you got it let me tell you it was because you take it up the arse you are that stupid along with every other person that thinks being a poofter is O/K.Stop the spread of HIV/AIDS ban Poofters make it a crime again.Why should we let these animals spread this sickness in our community and they say smoking puts a burden on the health system what is the matter with everyone cant you see HIV/AIDS is spread by poofters.Now delete this because you gay marriage people dont like the truth you are pathetic

Something else

Hi Ray, thanks for your comment. So true. Something else? I don't understand the discriminatory payments that Centrelink doles out. Why is it that you get $560 pension if you are single, but it reduces to $475 if you admit to living with someone. That's $85 less! Why?? I think it relates to the far distant past when a man was expected to take care of his wife, so when two pensioners got married, her rate was reduced (now it's both). In any case, how the hell are they going to prove that the other bloke is not just a flatmate? Install secret cameras? What a saving to the government if everyone confesses. My advice to all gay people is, don't tell the bastards anything. It's harder for straight people to hide the truth because it's naturally assumed they're a couple if they share accommodation and you're guilty until proven innocent as far as Centrelink is concerned. But it should be well nigh impossible to prove if you're gay.

Re: Same-sex pensioners set to suffer under law reform so what!

Since when does it matter if your gay couple or a straight when claiming centrelink payments? you are still recognised as a defacto couple and have the same rights as married couples. its about honesty. 2 single pensioners living under one roof are far better off on welfare than a married or defacto couple.you live in society and you should contribute to it no matter what sexual preference you have. what about people who are single, and are not married or in a defacto relationship or have kids, how much tax do they pay and how much welfare entitlements do they recieve? do we need to start a celibate rights movement too?
Marriage is between a man and a woman. Not a man and a man and a woman and a woman.God made it that way and if you dont agree with it then too bad for you.You still have a civil union and that is the same thing.
Paedophiles who have joined themselves on this gay rights bandwagon should have no rights because they abuse kids and take their rights away from them. the gay movement should dissassocciate itself with these criminals.They are the ones giving the gay movement a bad name.

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