A gay father affected by Centrelink changes has labelled the legislative changes unfair if not counterbalanced with the right to adopt.
After declaring his relationship of eight years, Clint Law, a 30-year-old father of one from Blacktown, was switched from single parent payments to a Newstart Principal Carer’s allowance. His pension card was also revoked.
Law’s welfare eligibility is now calculated to include his partner’s assets, which include a recent inheritance worth $270,000, Austudy payments and income from part-time work.
His son Lachlan’s tuition fees to a Catholic school are covered by the child’s mother.
Law, who quit his job to study zookeeping, now receives payments of $230 a fortnight, which he said has left him financially dependent on his partner.
At the risk of doing a disservice to all of my brothers and sisters who have been fighting for equal rights and for this change to happen, dare I say, we’re not like straight couples -” we’re two men and we have male egos and it’s hard for me to have to say, -˜Can I have some money please?’ he told Sydney Star Observer.
What annoys me is the Government blustering and posturing in front of the general public saying, -˜Oh we’re such a fabulous Government, we granted equal rights’ when it’s a long way off.
All these changes have meant all these negative things have happened to me. I started doing the research and thought, there must be some benefit the Government has given us, but there’s really only one thing I wanted and then I found the state Government has kept that door locked, because for a while we’ve talked about wanting [my partner] to legally adopt … I’d shut up about all of this if that door was open to me.
Laws said he has been told by Centrelink staff that his partner is under no obligation to provide for his son, although his partner’s assets will be taken into account if his child applies for Youth Allowance.
A spokeswoman for Centrelink confirmed that the point from our perspective is that the rules for same-sex couples are the same as rules for opposite-sex couples in relation to eligibility for Youth Allowance.
As with children of opposite-sex couples, parental income is taken into account when determining eligibility. Legal guardianship and adoption are not the basis on which Youth Allowance -˜Parental Income’ is determined, but rather it is based on who has responsibility of caring for the child.
The parental means test is used to work out if parents can financially help their dependent children.
Centrelink does not have figures on how many families with same-sex parents are in the welfare system.
We have never had to consider these sorts of impacts -” financial and otherwise -” before, Law said.
We made the decision to live together as two single people as far as the Government is concerned. It’s the same as a 70-year-old in a relationship who thinks they’re going to die as a single person then have that income cut off because their partner’s recognised.
Straight couples have always had this set of factors to consider when making their decisions, so it should have been gradually rolled out for us and we should have been warned.

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