23 May 2009



18 May 2009

It seems Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne is not the only group showing concerns about the proposed budget 2009 measure which will see the pension age rise from 65 to 67 but only commence in 8 years time – in 2017, according to the government’s figures.

Changes to same-sex relationship legislation, passed through parliament in December 2008 will commence in July 2009, allowing 8 months for people who have been discriminated against all their lives for being gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV/AIDS (GLTH) members of the community.

This is not just a case of double standards – the Treasurer and the Prime Minister have uttered all sorts of justifications for the pension age changes to occur later rather than sooner – to allow people to adjust – but have refused to grandfather the legislation concerning elderly and disabled GLTH people, because it will make differentiations in those receiving benefits.

Do you hear the hypocrisy ringing in your ears??

Be sure of one thing – GLTH pensioners still have the vote and know how to mark their papers when they go into the polling booths around the country and many have long memories too!

And to add further to the contempt in which the current government holds GLTH people, the latest Centrelink advertisements for telling us that couples are couples – the blatant lie continues! – now show two sets of towels in place of the toothbrushes!

It is not only crass, it is downright insulting!

We always knew that the ALP was homophobic, but we didn’t know how bad they were until this whole episode started in 2008 – and the Rudd government is doing us favours?

We want equality, and equality only has one meaning, unlike in Dr Verwoerd’s South Africa where the Bantustans were “separate but equal”! Rudd’s Australia perpetuates the Verwoerd myth of “separate but equal”.

17 May 2009


17 May 2009

The Rudd Government’s 2009 budget put forward the proposal to change retirement age from 65 to 67. What follows is an analysis of condescension, discrimination, homophobia, double standards and hypocrisy, to name some of the issues, from this government and its responses to the introduction of same-sex legislation in December 2008.

Dishonesty in the advertisement stating that couples are couples whether they are gay or straight is not only dishonest, it is an outright lie, and the government knows it too. It reflects the fact that the Advertising Standards organization, as operated in Australia, is a toothless tiger. The lie is that straight couples are able to register their relationships while gay couples are not – this is discrimination and homophobia!

The first item to examine in this litany of deceit is the matter of how the government has approached the proposed change of retirement age from 65 to 67.

An article in The Age newspaper on Wednesday 13 May 2009 reports that “. . . the Government will lift the pension age from 65 to 67 within 15 years and claw back more money faster from future pensioners who earn other income.” “Pension age to be lifted from 65 from 2017, rising by six months every two years, until 67 in 2023.”

“To start in September (2009), the increase will be worth $32.49 a week for singles (pensioners) and $10.14 per couple.”

The pension age increase is, in effect, grandfathered, meaning that between now and 2017, a period of 8 years, people who will become pensioners at that time will have been given 8 years’ notice of changes to occur.

Contrast this with the situation for the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) communities who have not only been given only 8 MONTHS’ notice of dramatic changes to financial circumstances in their lives after a lifetime of having known they were discriminated against but were subject to ongoing governmental homophobia, by virtue of the fact that many, now in their 70s, 80s and older, will be “outed” by an irresponsible and reckless government who care nothing for these communities. The laws were promulgated in December 2008, and are due to come into effect on 1 July 2009, with the government agency Centrelink being able to pry into the private lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our society in order to find out whether they are singles or couples

The most dishonest part of the government’s “couples are couples” advertisement is the fact that straight couples are able to register their relationships with civil or religious marriage rites, whereas GLTH couples are denied this basic human right and therefore show the government’s hypocrisy and lies by stating that “couples are couples”.

The next part of this behaviour is the statement by government that the same-sex legislative changes will be promoted through the media on a regular basis from December 2008 to July 2009. So far the straight media have been very silent on the issue other than the false and misleading advertisement with “gay and straight toothbrushes” which is also as demeaning as it is false.

In a letter written on 11 May 2009 from the office of the Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the following is the second paragraph:

“During the 2007 election campaign the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, announced that legal discrimination against same-sex couples should be removed, including from social security law. The Government announced its intention to remove same-sex discrimination, including in the area of social security, on 30 April 2008. The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Bill 2008 was subsequently tabled on 4 September 2008. The Government has staggered the commencement dates for the reforms to provide a period for individuals and couples to adjust to their new financial circumstances”.

So, 8 months is considered a “period for individuals and couples to adjust to their new financial circumstances” after a lifetime of discrimination and restrictions on financial arrangements for people in same-sex relationships, but 8 years is considered a reasonable time for working people to make arrangements for their retirement years in 2017.

This is homophobia writ large – not surprising considering other actions by this government to prevent equality by every means available by stating in the strongest possible terms that there will be no registration of same-sex couples federally, thus ensuring inequality remains entrenched, thus contradicting Rudd’s statement that “legal discrimination against same-sex couples should be removed, including from social security law.”

Considering that the government has no idea whatever of the numbers of GLTH couples there are in the community, how are they able to assess the costs to government of the changes about to take place in 6 weeks’ time? This is their method of ruining the lives of countless old and vulnerable people who know very little of what is happening with legislative changes and who will be in great difficulties when Centrelink starts prying into their lives.

No members of this government have publicly addressed this issue in any way and have refused to consider the grandfathering that has been requested of them.

Homophobia and hypocrisy will continue to dog the elderly, frail, disabled and impoverished in the GLTH communities in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

This government should be ashamed of the way it has handled these legislative changes.

Many community organisations were not consulted and it is dishonest to say that there were consultations across the board, and the most vulnerable were not consulted at all!

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne.


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm