Australian-Philippine Social Security Reciprocal Agreement

Many young Filipino migrant families bring their parents to Australia to provide family support so they can devote more fully to their work and careers. It can be said that most families are financially secured because they have their parents standing by them and their children.

It can also be said that our children are successful because they have grandparents who cared for them during their formative years and nourished them with our language, culture and faith traditions.

Because of their age, Senior Citizens receive Social Security benefits. Their savings usually pays for their holidays. Unfortunately, when our Senior Citizens are forced to stay in the Philippines for family reasons beyond 26 weeks, their Social Security entitlements are temporarily suspended until their return to Australia.

Thus the Australian-Philippine Social Security Reciprocal Agreement has become an advocacy to unburden our Senior Citizens from this 26-week rule. If 20 or so signatory nations are exempt from this 26-week rule, equity and justice demands our Senior Citizens enjoy the same exception.

History

Since 2008, Senior Citizen groups and community leaders from New South Wales have earnestly pursued bilateral negotiations that will see the realization of an Australian-Philippine Social Security Reciprocal Agreement. Representations had been made with Parliamentary Representatives and the Philippine Embassy to see this process through. Initial meetings were held with various relevant ministerial staff.

The formation of the Filipino Ministerial Committee last year saw this Agreement on top of its agenda by bringing this directly to Minister Jenny Macklin of the Families, Housing, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs. At its last meeting held in Canberra on 25th March 2012, MP Ed Husic and MP Laurie Ferguson both hinted to the members that it is just a matter of time that the Agreement will become a reality, in anticipation for the completion of the national interest assessment by the Office of Foreign Affairs’ Minister Bob Carr. This is the final step to complete the bilateral process. The recent change in government altered this reality into another tedious process of starting all over again.

Petition Gathering

In anticipation of a possible set back from the new government; we now call on the Filipino-Australian community leaders and their supporters across all states and territories to stand united behind this Agreement. Solidarity can be achieved in presenting big numbers of signatures to this petition campaign to reinforce our call for urgent action. Let us speak as one voice to push this Agreement with the Australian Parliament. Our Senior Citizens deserve nothing less than our collective efforts in this petition campaign.

Date

Action

Constituencies

October 2013

Distribution and signing of petitions to target stakeholders

All states and territories

31 October-5 November 2013

Recording of collected petitions

7 November 2013

Define action in presenting signed petitions to Parliament

Committee on Senior Citizens – PCC NSW

To be advised

Delegation travel to Canberra to present signed petitions to Parliament

All states and territories

Senior citizens must contact Mr. Bobby Lastica for a copy of the petition.

The Committee on Senior Citizens of PCC NSW shall be the central collection point of all petitions. Please post all signed copies to:

Roberto Mella Lastica

Secretary | Committee on Senior Citizens PCC NSW

10 Jasper Street, Quakers Hill NSW 2763

Updated: 11/10/2013 — 18:52:07