Social Security Policy in South Africa:
"The right of lawfully residing immigrants to social security does not infer that separate entitlements to benefit have to be created for this group. It simply means that lawful residents cannot be treated less favorably than national citizens who are otherwise in comparable circumstances. This is the consequence of applying the non-discrimination principle.”
Comparative review of the position of non-citizen migrants in social security - M. Olivier; G.Vonk (eds.); report for the South African Treasury 2004
- and now: The Social Security Policy for Kiwis in Australia:
"In some circumstances, what this bill may do is place New Zealanders in a worse position than migrants from other countries. The bill will ensure that people who live, work, pay taxes and raise children in Australia will never be entitled to social security income support because they were born in New Zealand, unless they take the previously unnecessary step of obtaining permanent residence. Other than under social security law and this change we are making now, there is no need or purpose for them to do so.”
If you are a New Zealand citizen, and you were not residing in Australia on the 26th February 2001, or for at least 12 of the previous 24 months, and do not have a 'Certificate of Residency' from CentreLink, then you have significantly less rights than all other people permanently residing in Australia.
The rights you no longer have include:
- The right to naturalisation, as you are permanently ineligible to apply for Australian citizenship
- The right of your children to aquire Australian citizenship by birth
- Political rights, such as the right to vote and hold public office.
- The right to all social security payments not directly compensated for by New Zealand (excluding the double orphan pension).
- Access to the HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP higher education assistance (now reserved for citizens only, and you are never eligible to become one).
- The right to sponsor family members for permanent residence.
- Access to scholarships
- Student concessional travel (Victoria only)
- Public/social housing (Victoria, NSW, Qld)
(see: Important Information for Kiwis Living in Australia for more detailed information)
Why this is Discrimination?
The Australian Government justifies the removal of these basic human rights by now claiming that New Zealanders are not permanent residents because their automatically issued Special Category Visa ('SCV') is categorised as a 'temporary visa' under the Migration Act 1958. However, this categorisation is because an SCV is only valid whilst its' holder has a given status - i.e. whilst its' holder remains a New Zealand citizen. Thus an SCV affords New Zealand citizens indefinite residence in Australia. It is not a temporary visa in the normal sense.
The aim of the Family and Community Services Legislative Amendment (New Zealand Citizens) Act 2001, as stated to the Australian Parliament by the Howard Government, is as follows:
“It will place New Zealand citizens taking up residence in Australia on the same basis as other migrants by restricting access to social security payments unless the person meets normal migration selection criteria or the payment is covered by a social security international agreement”
However, New Zealanders already have the right to reside indefinitely in Australia. Therefore, in this case, the Australian Government is not using 'normal migration selection criteria' for the legitimate purpose of migration, but is using it to deny New Zealanders residing in its territory the right to equality before the law with Australians.
That is, these changes clearly implemented inequality between Australians and New Zealanders.
The UN Human Rights Committee published the following view concerning equality before the law between citizens and non-citizens:
In general, the rights set forth in the Covenant apply to everyone, irrespective of reciprocity, and irrespective of his or her nationality or statelessness. Thus, the general rule is that each one of the rights of the Covenant must be guaranteed without discrimination between citizens and aliens.
From paragraphs 1 & 2, CCPR General Comment No. 15: The Position of Aliens Under the Covenant
How to Complain About the Discrimination
these changes were entirely unilateral Australian Government policy. Thus Australia appears to be in breach of its' international human rights obligations by arbitrarily removing rights from a group of people based upon their nationality.
If you would like to remind the Australian Government of their human rights obligations then you are entitled to lodge an individual complaint of human rights violations with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. To find out how to make such a complaint against Australia see: