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Tony Abbott's Kiwi wife

Wednesday 04 Sep 2013 6:30p.m.

Tony Abbott's Kiwi wife

3 News asked the man who's likely to become Australia's next prime minister if he plans to change the law to make it fairer for Kiwis living in Australia.

But Tony Abbott says Kiwis aren't complainers. And how does he know? He's married to one.

Mr Abbott visited a hardware store in Sydney today, but doesn't believe New Zealanders living in Australia are hard done by.

"I don't believe that New Zealanders ever complain," he says. "New Zealanders are stoical and decent people. I married one. I know."

His wife, Margie, maiden name Aitken, is from Wainuiomata. She moved to Australia in 1983 so is entitled to all of the benefits Australia has to offer.

But those who arrived after 2001, roughly 30,000 each year, are not eligible for disability care and social security. If things go wrong there's no safety net. 

Mr Abbott doesn't think it's an issue.

"Kiwis come to Australia because they think it's a great country and they do very well here," says Mr Abbott. "I'm pleased that so many Kiwis over the years have decided to make Australia their home and they're more than welcome."

But most aren't welcome to apply for citizenship. The criteria is tough and even excludes the likes of Russell Crowe, and James Tamou who represents Australia in rugby league.

3 News

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