The Turnbull Government voted to cut the pension for elderly Australians who travel overseas.

The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Budget Repair) Bill 2015 makes it harder for migrant pensioners to continue to receive their pension while they are overseas.

Currently, pensioners can stay overseas for 26 weeks and receive their full pension. Following that time, the pension is reduced to a rate that depends on the number of years they have worked in Australia.

Under the Turnbull Government’s changes, from 1 January 2017 pensioners will have their pension cut after just six weeks.

Malcolm Turnbull’s new pension cuts will particularly hurt thousands of migrant pensioners who often spend time overseas to visit family or friends.

There are many older Australians who left family or fled conflict on the other side of the world to build a better life in our country. They have spent decades working hard, paying taxes, raising families and making Australia a better place. They deserve the pension, just like any other eligible older Australian.

This is a cruel and unfair cut. It is not unreasonable for someone to wish to spend some time overseas visiting family, particularly if that person has spent decades living and working in Australia.

Labor voted against this cut in the House of Representatives and we will vote against it in the Senate.

Pensioners deserve our respect and support in retirement. They do not deserve to be treated as a burden by Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals.

This is just the latest in a long line of Liberal cuts to the pension. And it’s all before Malcolm Turnbull increases the GST to 15 per cent, which will have a particularly big impact on pensioners who survive on very modest incomes.

Labor will always put people first — that’s why Labor is standing up for pensioners and opposing Mr Turnbull’s cuts to the pension.

While Labor puts people first, Malcolm Turnbull puts pensioners last.

by Michelle Rowland, Federal Member of Parliament for Greenway

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