6 Oct 2013

No plan to change NZers' welfare rights

11:38 am on 6 October 2013

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has ruled out any change to the policy on treating New Zealanders living across the Tasman.

Prime Minister John Key and the Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully have been lobbying the Australian Government for a change allowing New Zealanders easier access to citizenship and pensions.

Speaking on TVNZ on Sunday, Ms Bishop said Australia already gives New Zealanders more access to the country than to people from anywhere else in the world.

She said she didn't believe there was a need for change to a policy made some years ago.

Ms Bishop said it has to be remembered that there are more New Zealanders living in Australia than Australians living in this country.

'Difficult for women to enter politics'

Ms Bishop, Australia's only woman cabinet minister, said women find it difficult to enter national politics in her country because of their responsibilities at home.

She said said it is a fact of life that women are still the primary caregivers to children and, in many cases, to elderly parents.

Ms Bishop said the amount of travel necessary to be a national politician in Australia means many women cannot choose to stand for the Federal Parliament. She herself lives in Western Australia and said it is a long journey to the parliament in Canberra.

The minister said she had reached her leadership position through determination and hard work and doesn't consider herself a token woman in the Cabinet.