Prime Ministers John Key and Tony Abbott have met on the night of Oct 2 in Canberra to discuss issues of joint importance, the Aussie-Kiwi relations.
In the end, Mr Key had this to say - as much as he vowed to uphold the rights of those Kiwis already residing in Australia, Australian policy is already beyond his control.
"In the end, we totally respect the sovereign right of the Australian government to make the decision how they'll treat people who come and work in Australia."
Approximately there are 300,000 Kiwis living for years in Australia, but they were given unequal rights as compared to other permanent residents. Their applications for Australian citizenship were disqualified; hence, they are banned from enjoying the rights to Australia's government services.
Despite all these restrictions, these Kiwis pay the same taxes as all other permanent residents, but the government does not give them proper assistance.
As compared to Australian living in New Zealand, New Zealanders living in Australia are being stripped of their rights to vote, residency, citizenship, unemployment benefits, single parent benefits and disability care, among others.
A table from the OZ Kiwi Web site compiled by Timothy Gassin compared the rights given to Australian living in New Zealand, New Zealanders living in Australia:
A table comparing the rights granted to Aussie in New Zealand and Kiwis in Australia
In the wake of this pertinent issue, Oz Kiwi published an open letter addressed to Prime Minister John Key to particularly point out the unimpressive attitude that Mr Key's government is taking in resolving the issues that Kiwis in Australia are experiencing.
The letter particularly pointed out that the New Zealand government, headed by Mr Key, does not show any degree of coherent understanding about the issue.
Important points in the letter are as follow:
- New Zealand Governments, both Labour and National, have not agreed to subsequent discriminatory policies enacted by Australian federal and state governments.
- Australia provided grossly inadequate information to New Zealanders migrating there after 2001, giving people little idea of the true consequences of legislative changes.
- Questions of citizenship eligibility, voting rights, education access and public sector employment are of the greatest concern to New Zealanders living in Australia, but are almost completely ignored in your public statements on this issue.
- Many, many New Zealanders who have committed to life in Australia are having their lives marred by harsh and discriminatory policies. Australia's current policies are an absolute disgrace, and New Zealand should not put up with them any more.
This open letter was written by Timothy Gassin, David Faulkner, Laura Campbell, Makhdoom Bhatti, Emma Goodwin and Joanne Cox.
Sadly, the Australian government is equally blind or rather intentionally blind to all these as Mr Abbott said he was content with the current relationship as it stands.
"I've got to say that what I admire about Kiwis in Australia is their commitment to have a go. They are have a go people. I want everyone who comes to this country to work and pay taxes from day one, and I'm delighted that that's exactly what Kiwis have done."
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