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Fubaar 2nd Apr 2015 00:29

Anybody else think that this might be the tip of a very large iceberg?
No Cookies | dailytelegraph.com.au

A BANGLADESHI couple applied for the family tax *benefit and the baby bonus two days after the mother *arrived in Australia with their seven-month-old son.

A flurry of other applications for carers allowance, carers payment and a mobility allowance followed from Mohammad Hasan and his wife Aklima Akter until the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Sydney last month finally refused them all, finding that doctors’ reports and other documents had been forged.

One false document, wrongly claiming their son had congenital heart disease, was supposedly signed by a Dr Aminul Hoque in Bangladesh and Ms Akter on the same day while they were in different countries, the tribunal said.

A Dr Hoque also purportedly signed a document identifying himself as a “registered marriage organisation” from the “Government of the people’s republic of Bangladesh Office of the Muslim *Marriage register and support Pubail, Dist: Gazipur”.

It supported Ms Akter’s claim for a mobility allowance because she had congenital heart disease and needed to get around to do voluntary work. That was also rejected.

“I am not satisfied that any of the documents purporting to be from Dr Hoque are genuine. I find they have been fabricated,” senior tribunal member Jill Toohey said in a March 27 decision.

Hasan, 35, of Lakemba, was convicted in November, 2014, after pleading guilty to six counts of using a forged document with the intention it be accepted as genuine by a Commonwealth official. He was fined and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

The AAT was told Mr Hasan arrived in Australia from Bangladesh in 2000.

He married Ms Akter in Bangladesh in 2009 and she arrived in Australia in *December, 2011, with their seven-month-old son. They have since had another boy.

They were refused the baby bonus and family tax benefit for the older son *because he had not been in Australia within the first 26 weeks of his birth.

Ms Toohey said that on one occasion a report purportedly from Dr Hoque in Bangladesh asking that the son receive “proper medical treatment by operation from Australia immediately” appeared to have been cut and pasted on another letterhead and his name spelled differently.

“Giving evidence before the tribunal Mr Hasan was generally uncooperative and argumentative,” Ms Toohey said.

The couple could not be contacted yesterday.

SOPS 2nd Apr 2015 02:33

I assume they are on the way to jail?

Captain Sand Dune 2nd Apr 2015 04:23

I'm sure the Rintouls and the Burnsides of this world will be clamoring to defend their yumin rights first.
Yet another example of the power of attraction of unfettered welfare.

Fubaar 2nd Apr 2015 07:24

When I first read this, my reaction was "It's April 1st; I won't fall for this. It's quite obviously an April Fool's Joke." Then I saw that it had been posted on April 2nd.

halal to expand further in Australia. ? News

There is to be a three day expo at the Melbourne Convention Centre starting next 23rd of July. Actually not just an expo – a conference as well.

No, wait, this one is about expanding halal. Expanding halal to many other industries.

Surely that is of interest?

Here is what the organisers say:

"The ultimate aim of Halal Expo and Conference Australia 2015 is, to lead to the creation of emerging technologies and new frontiers of business opportunities within halal, and to inspire innovation in halal industry, as innovation and research in the entire halal supply chain is critical in creating a sustainable halal industry."
Some of the comments following the article are interesting.

Worrals in the wilds 2nd Apr 2015 12:34

So there are no major scandals, but towards the end, it seemed that people just didn't trust her. I was in Qld at the time of that election, and there seemed to be a feeling that she had got away with a lot.
As a major Bligh critic, I don't recall any suggestion that there was anything crooked about her; she was simply incompetent. There was chat about the Beattie government, but no more than is usual about any long-standing state government from either side.

However the phrase 'be careful what you wish for as you may well get it' springs to mind. I'm not over the politics of N.Queensland, however I reckon Noel's opinion may not be that of the people of Cook. Interesting times.
I notice that The Australian's coverage of this issue is a lot more restrained than the Courier Mail's. The Aus is not a fan of Queensland Labor (far from it, they'll sink the boot whenever they can :eek:) so I find that interesting.

It's remarkable how many people in the Qld ALP appeared to know about the allegations etc against Gordon, yet for one reason or another did nothing about it.
Dunno about that. I think it's been a big shock to a lot of people, at least at the rank and file level. That's also assuming the DV allegations are true, which of course they may be.

The shock jocks on 2GB (Hadley, Jones possibly others) ran a pretty vocal campaign in the days leading up to the election attempting to warn people that the whole exercise looked decidedly dodgy and that volunteers ran a very high risk of not being paid.
Thanks for the heads up. I was in NSW during their state election and followed the NLT party story with a bit of interest; I found the whole 'volunteers' getting paid thing a bit :confused:. Of course you don't get paid, that's the definition of volunteer :ugh:. As a person who recently helped out on an election campaign (BYO chair, hat and sunscreen; sign and T-shirt provided :}), I was a bit bemused by the concept of a political party paying their campaigners. TBH it seemed a bit dodge, when all the Libs, Labor, Greens, FF et al are always out there for free...:hmm:

MTOW 2nd Apr 2015 21:40

Worrals, my impression of the No Land Tax Party business was that it might have a bright side to it in that it has given a (sobering) introduction to politics (as in the nasty side of politics) to a whole group of mostly young people who imagined that a vague promise (like Mr Jones gave) of pay for manning booths on election day might actually result in money in their hands.

There are now a hundreds, if not thousands of (I strongly suspect, about to be very disappointed and out of pocket) 'volunteers' out there who might take a bit more interest in politics come the next election.

On the bright side, they've all scored a free baseball cap and a high viz vest for their day's work. I honestly think that that will prove to be the sum total of what they get paid for their day.

I heard someone say on TV that he thought the 93 candidates for Lower House seats were simply a ploy to give the NLTP credibility (and even more importantly, given the donkey vote factor, publicity) with a view to attracting a few more votes through name recognition to Jones' bid for his Upper House seat.

It would seem that some of the 93 people who stood for those Lower House seats were (what's the right word?) 'ephemeral' or at the very least simply 'names of convenience' - people who were willing, possibly for a few notes slipped their way, to put their names to an exercise they had no intention of raising one ounce of sweat over. So I think that TV commentator was pretty close to the mark with his observations.

Ray Hadley and the other shock jocks on 2GB, love 'em or hate 'em, did a great job in this case in exposing Jones' plan. Even with the donkey vote, traditionally said to be worth around 5%, I understand he didn't even crack 2%, so he didn't get enough votes for the long-suffering taxpayer to have to foot the bill for his campaign.

It remains to be seen if he can force a re-election (as occurred in WA) over the iVote site error. Even if successful in that, I would think he'd still get thoroughly rolled with the major parties able to trot out a succession of pissed off 'volunteers' asking where their pay for the last election day is. (Unless he can come up with the almost $1 mill it will cost him to pay all those 'volunteers' as promised.)

MTOW 3rd Apr 2015 01:26

Much ado about new taxes in the media today, and stopping 'the richies' from getting the pension. (I must say, I agree entirely with that.)

The vast majority of people on a part pension are on it for the pensioner rebates available (on car rego, council rates etc) only to pensioners and not for the small amount of pension they receive - although all those small amounts add up to a substantial sum for the taxpayer to find.

The Government could unravel that particular problem overnight by enacting a law stating that any self-funded retiree NOT taking handouts OF ANY KIND from the government was also entitled to the same rebates as pensioners.

As for the family home being exempt from asset testing for the pension: I don’t believe it should be exempt if above a ‘median’ value. However the median value in Rose Bay or Toorak is a very different kettle of fish to the median value in Wilcania.

So why not have a median value for each post code throughout the country? If your family home is above that post code-factored median value and you choose to take out the pension, you must agree to repay the money you received from the taxpayer from your estate (when it won't bother you or have any effect on your lifestyle at all).

However, if you choose not to take the pension and you fund yourself by a reverse mortgage - or just from your own (other) assets - your children get your whole inheritance.

The current situation, where the taxpayer funds the asset rich retiree, possibly for decades, so that the asset rich retiree’s children get the whole value of the family home after the retiree’s death is unsustainable and should stop.

Pinky the pilot 3rd Apr 2015 05:36

Much ado about new taxes in the media today, and stopping 'the richies' from getting the pension.
I note that there has not been any mention of retired Politicians and their (obscenely generous) parliamentary pensions.:yuk::mad::hmm:

RJM 3rd Apr 2015 05:43

Exemption of the family home is a vexed question. A home is not a liquid asset, and can only be turned into cash by selling the entire asset.

So if a family's principal asset is the family home, then if it were not exempt, it may have to be sold to provide for its retired owners. Thus it could not be inherited by the next generation, which could be seen as unfair to the beneficiaries.

On the other hand, if the principal asset were cash or equities and means tested, then some of the cash could be used to fund the retirees.

An answer could be for the beneficiaries to service a mortgage on the parents' home to provide for the parents in that case. But what if the beneficiaries don't have the means to do that?

Any accountants or tax lawyers here??

etimegev 3rd Apr 2015 06:10

Beware of the law of unintended consequences if they take house values into account.

MTOW 3rd Apr 2015 06:10

and can only be turned into cash by selling the entire asset.
Not so, RJM. Reverse mortgages and similar schemes where the bank provides cash in return for an agreed percentage of the property on sale (usually when the owners move in to a care facility or die) are widely available, at least in the cities.

My idea would be that if the family home is worth more than the postcode median, the owner can elect to take the pension, but on the understanding that, because the owner is asset rich (if cash poor), the government will take back all it has given from the estate after the second spouse dies. On the other hand, if the owner decides to look after him/herself by either setting up a scheme as above or just using other assets, 100% of the inheritance goes to the family.

People with more than a million on assets, even if the majority of those assets are in the family home, should not expect the taxpayer to support them, and if the taxpayer does support them, their estate should pay for that support after they die.

I don't believe the widely-held argument that because someone has paid tax all their lives, they are owed a pension holds any water at all. Everyone should strive not to require a pension and, as unfair as it may seem, (the tale of the squirrel and the grasshopper comes immediately to mind), only those who fail to achieve that goal be supported.

Cutting to the quick, and being totally politically incorrect, (and sure to draw howls of protest from some), being on the pension should be seen as a sign of failure, not an entitlement.

etimegev 3rd Apr 2015 06:15

I know it's pure socialism but what is wrong with a system like they have in the UK whereby the aged pension is a universal entitlement related to the amount of "tax" (National Insurance contributions) that have been paid in over a working life?

Worrals in the wilds 3rd Apr 2015 08:17

On the bright side, they've all scored a free baseball cap and a high viz vest for their day's work. I honestly think that that will prove to be the sum total of what they get paid for their day.
I've got a wardrobe full of those :}. In fairness, drinks were also on the cause/party concerned. :E

Cutting to the quick, and being totally politically incorrect, (and sure to draw howls of protest from some), being on the pension should be seen as a sign of failure, not an entitlement.
For the under sixties (or thereabouts) I agree 100%. However, the over sixties were led to believe that they would get the pension and I think we should honour that. Also, while the current record-low interest rates are great for us mortgage belt types, they are hitting self-funded retirees hard. However, certainly any of the superannuation generation should be well aware that pensions are a safety net rather than an automatic entitlement.

I have issues including the family home in pension calculations. While I see your point, the problem is that many formerly average areas increase in value over time. Many oldies bought houses in the inner city back in the 1960s when they were affordable, only to see their property values skyrocket. In the long run that's nice for their descendants, but while they're alive, if they want to keep living there (reverse mortgages notwithstanding) they can't free up any of the capital. Also, the rates go up according to land values and get very expensive.

While there's an argument that they could sell up, free up the money and move somewhere cheaper, I think it's a bit harsh when it comes to people's homes. Having had to strong-arm three elderly relatives out of their homes and into care (due to health issues) I know how much store people set by their home of forty years. TBH I don't know much about reverse mortgages, but they seem a bit scary :ooh:.

Any accountants or tax lawyers here??
It's not the sort of thing people admit to...:E:}

John Eacott 3rd Apr 2015 08:45

There seems a lack of understanding of what is involved to be a self funded superannuant, and how you are expected to look after yourself without any government assistance. On the assumption that you have a certain perceived wealth, there is a requirement to pay full price on all the little things that pensioners and 'disability' pensioners have marked discounts if you are a SFSA couple with more than (about) $1.3m in your fund.

How much do you think that you need in super to get the average wage as a pension, not just next year but in 20+ years time? Calculate what the average wage will be (just CPI rates), what you can expect as an annual return on investments, and you'll find that $A3 million is just going to be enough. Yes, $3,000,000 minimum in your lump sum. Currently you would need more than $1 million to get the average wage this year on an investment return of 5%, but that would in no way look after you in 20 years time.

Is that 'wealthy' by today's standards? Without eating into the lump sum, without paying any tax on the investment income, whilst maintaining a variable rate of return somewhere between (currently) 5-6% or the dreamed-of 10%, that is what you will need if you're not going to eat into your lump sum. If you do reduce that then it stands to reason that you will then get a reduced income payment with which to pay yourself a pension.

Also, the regs mandate that you must pay yourself a minimum pension of 4% of the value of your superfund. If you aren't getting that in your investment returns then you must use your lump sum to make up the difference, thus reducing the income, and so on.

All so that the tax payer (now and in the future) don't have to support you with a government pension and substantial discounts on health costs, rates, etc etc. For that it is viewed as wrong that someone who works hard and provides for themselves in their retirement years should be further penalised?

For another POV, how about the Canadian system where super payments are tax free (allowing a greater fund growth) but pensions are then taxed?

Fubaar 3rd Apr 2015 09:58

I know it's pure socialism but what is wrong with a system like they have in the UK whereby the aged pension is a universal entitlement related to the amount of "tax" (National Insurance contributions) that have been paid in over a working life?
Such a system in Australia would bar a huge percentage of our various 'pensioners' who, either because they come from families where for three or more generations, no one in the family has ever held a job, or they have been on benefits from the first day they arrived here, either invited or uninvited.

RJM 3rd Apr 2015 10:29

MTOW, I had reverse mortgages in mind, but as you explained, they don't allow preservation of the asset if there is not enough cash in the family to pay out the mortgage on the death of the second spouse, if that's the arrangement.

I suppose the beneficiaries could start paying off the mortgage. In a rising market, the interest on the mortgage not paid during the parents' lifetimes would be offset by the capital gain.

Then again, the family home could simply be seen as any other asset. For example, if you are running a Rolls Royce before you retire, why should the government subsidise its running after you retire? You sell it and by a cheaper car. Easy to say when you're not looking forward to inheriting some grand pile that's been in the family for 500 years.

RJM 3rd Apr 2015 10:32

Fubaar, some people struggle financially all their lives, through no fault of their own, and pay very little tax. That suggestion would hardly be fair on them. In any case, many people pay no net tax.

Worrals in the wilds 3rd Apr 2015 10:36

Easy to say when you're not looking forward to inheriting some grand pile that's been in the family for 500 years.
I'm thinking that the only 500 year old homes in Australia look something like this...;)
I don't think homes are like any other asset. The other rampantly unpopular option would be to reintroduce death duties on property, which affects descendants but not the actual owner/s.

Maybe a better solution would be to offer the discounts on medication et al to all people over a certain age regardless of assets, but tighten up the requirements for getting the actual pension.

alisoncc 3rd Apr 2015 11:39

Looks like a sheet of corro on top. Didn't know they had corro that long ago.

Worrals in the wilds 3rd Apr 2015 12:14

That was a home improvement. :\ After all, lots of English castles have plumbing, wi fi and heating these days. For all that, they're still 1000 year old castles...:}

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