Feedback from my previous blog discussing a Guardian article by Samantha Prendergast illustrating the struggles of Kiwi’s living in Australia without the legal rights to access government support has been overwhelming.
Some of the stories people have chosen to share illustrate a tenuous existence. Some said they had no desire to return home to NZ but due to the lack of legal protections for Kiwi’s who arrive in Australia post 2001 they have no choice if things go badly.
I am looking to talk with as many Kiwis in Australia and to those whom have moved back home to New Zealand due to their current legal status as guest workers with very little recourse to better their residency status except through expensive spousal visas in the “lucky country.”
Please use the provided contact form to get in touch. Please state if you wish to be contacted further and if you wish to have your identity protected.
And to the many people whom have already been in touch – thank you – I will get back to you over the next couple of weeks.
Following a story in today’s Guardian Australia by Samantha Prendergast I am looking for New Zealanders living in Australia doing it tough without the benefit of the Centrelink safety net. This is despite Australians in New Zealand having access to the full range of social support structures regardless of how long they have lived in New Zealand.
“When I came to Australia at the age of 12, I never expected to find myself age 23 with no access to social security. If I lost my job tomorrow, I’d be broke in four weeks time – and there’d be no Newstart or Youth Allowance to fall back on.
In 2001, two years before my family moved from Auckland to Adelaide, the then Howard government changed the visa rights for New Zealanders who moved to Australia. Previously, Kiwis were immediately eligible for Australian residency. But after 2001, every New Zealander who crossed the Tasman was placed on a non-protected special category visa (SCV), a temporary visa that is unique to New Zealanders and can be altered at any time. We can live here, work here, and access Medicare. But beyond that, services are limited. If people on SCVs want permanent residency and the benefits attached to it, there are few available options. Permanent residency is granted when people meet criteria that make them valuable to the Australian community – and that usually means having a long-term relationship with an Australian citizen, being highly skilled, or being a wealthy under-50 year-old with plans to invest in an Australian company. For many people, especially young New Zealanders who moved here as kids, the criteria are hard to meet and the consequences of staying on a SCV can be severe.”
New Zealanders can technically lose their residency rights in Australia overnight and it is very difficult to get other more permanent forms of residency.
You can read Samantha’s story here.
Anyone willing to share their story can get in touch through the contact form. If you wish to protect your identity please let me know within the contact form and we can go from there.
Last week I was interviewed by the SBS Nepali show in Australia on my investigative journalism into the issues surrounding orphanage voluntourism in Nepal.
The interview covers the possible links to child trafficking and what volunteers need to consider before embarking on a paid for volunteer experience in the developing country.
You can listen to the interview here.
Today a Feminist activist Boganette (link – www.twitter.com/boganettenz) posted a question on the Te Mana political party’s Facebook page asking if they had policy on sexual health and access to abortion and if they would be listing their positioning on ‘conscious’ issues.What followed can only be described as base sexism, misogyny, abuse, and trolling.
The abuse is pretty normal when discussing access to abortion or issues surrounding pro-choice, as is the hate against women who dare to ask uncomfortable questions. Being called a lesbian, a whore, (as if these are even fundamentally bad things), and being told to get fucked in various forms, is classic, if not run of the mill misogyny aimed at women who ask valid questions even without stating a position. What is important is knowing what each potential party stands for .It is surprising and extremely disappointing that all this happened on the social networking page of a political party looking to gain votes not far out from a important election for New Zealand.
Many on the left in New Zealand feel disaffected and are looking for a place to put their vote on November 26. A party, even a young one like Te Mana, should be monitoring its social networking pages regularly and looking after its supporters, potential voters, and not letting one man loose with hate speech against women. It makes me wonder if his perspective is something the party membership are comfortable with. This may be unfair but when I asked Sue Bradford, on her facebook page, about what the party position on sexual health and abortion access was, my questions were ignored. This could be because she is busy with her campaign for the Waitakere seat. But I do wonder, in all fairness to Sue Bradford – does the party have a policy on these issues? Issues that are so important to so many voters?
I have asked the party to moderate their page, but from what I can tell the thread is still there with vitriol intact. I know abortion and sexual health can be contentious but it is also a fundamental policy platform. And potential voters should not be verbally attacked online for making a valid policy enquiry.
So I have some questions for Te Mana;
- Who is in charge of the Women’s Affairs portfolio?
- What is your policy on sexual health?
- What is your policy on access to abortion?
- Is Te Mana a pro-choice party?
Te Mana is a political party that claims to represent Maori, the poor and under -represented; many of those are women. This is a time when they need to stand up and be counted. Do they stand with women?