Unequal rights in Australia hit toddler

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 07/01/2014
hudson glubb
OISIN DUKE/ FAIRFAX NZ

FIGHTING FOR AIR: The Glubb family, from left: Jay, Hudson, 19 months, Mikayla, 4, and Kerry, must pay for much of Hudson’s medical care because the Australian Government considers him a Kiwi despite being born and raised in Queensland.

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Hudson Glubb struggles to breathe, hear or even sit.

Born with Achondroplasia, giving him an enlarged head and short limbs, the 19-month-old has multiple medical disorders that mean he needs intensive care just to stay alive.

He has spent about a third of his short life in hospital, undergone many operations, and needs oxygen 24/7 to keep breathing.

But one of Hudson's biggest struggles is proving he is not a New Zealander.

Despite being born in Australia and never stepping foot in New Zealand, Hudson is classified by the Australian Government as a Kiwi living temporarily in Australia.

The classification means he is denied access to the support other disabled Australians receive as a right.

While he can receive some public healthcare, his parents must spend about $160 a week on oxygen to keep him alive.

They rely heavily on donations from family and friends to meet his medical expenses.

His mother Kerry Glubb says claiming her son was a Kiwi is ridiculous.

"You shouldn't be denied citizenship in a country where you were born and where you will probably live the rest of your life."

Kerry and her husband Jay are both Kiwis but have been living in Australia on the Gold Coast since 2006.

They pay taxes, own a house, and even pay the compulsory levy for the disability scheme their son cannot access.

Like many Kiwis, they migrated assuming that the right to work and live in Australia indefinitely made them permanent residents.

But when Hudson was born in 2012, they were told the whole family - including Hudson's Australian-born older sister Mikayla - were temporary residents.

The family's odd status harks back to Australia toughening its immigration policy in 2001.

The changes meant that New Zealanders could still work and live across the ditch indefinitely but would not have the same rights and supports available to other permanent resident or citizens.

In some instances, this also applies to children born in Australia.

Now tens of thousands of "temporary" Kiwis live in Australia, without access to unemployment payments, tertiary education, disability support or many government jobs.

With many unable to ever attain permanent residency, some groups have accused the government of discrimination. There has also been growing alarm about a new "underclass" of Kiwi living across the ditch, particularly among youth who have grown up in Australia.

Last month, the Australian Federal Parliament's human rights committee raised similar concerns about the new national disability scheme, which taxes "temporary" Kiwis for support but denies them cover.

Jay Glubb is now trying to gain citizenship through his mother, who is Australian, and hopefully take the family with him.

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- The Dominion Post

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