Polygamy is illegal in Australia, but a Centrelink spokeswoman said it was not the welfare agency's job to police polygamy law

Dereliction of Duty:

Growing number of Muslim men and multiple wives exploiting loophoole for taxpayer handouts

  • Mark Dunn Herald Sun
  • A GROWING number of Muslim men and their multiple wives are exploiting a loophole to get taxpayer handouts.

    Centrelink has confirmed it has investigated up to 20 cases of multiple relationships, including polygamy, in the past two years for payment irregularities.

    It has forced some families to pay money back.

    Polygamy is illegal in Australia, but a Centrelink spokeswoman said it was not the welfare agency’s job to police polygamy laws.

    Other News from the RoP:

    “It’s not our concern if they are a member of a polygamist relationship,” the spokeswoman said.

    “We look at whether they are receiving the correct rate of payment. We treat each couple independently.”

    But Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria director Joumanah El Matrah said some men were exploiting Australia.
    “It (polygamy) was a minority but it’s certainly a growing minority because Muslim men realised it was possible to get away with it,” she said.

    She said Muslim men who took more than one wife and relied on Centrelink payments to support their families were not following Islamic law, which dictated they could only take multiple wives if they could afford it.

    “What these men are doing is exploiting Islam and they are exploiting the system in Australia,” she said.

    A 2008 report by the women’s group found Centrelink payments had encouraged polygamy in a small section of the Islamic community.

    “Community workers who have provided support to women whose husbands took another wife religiously, said that women blame the availability of Centrelink benefits … since one or the other wife will be claiming it, relieving the husband of the responsibility of supporting two families,” the report stated.

    Centrelink general manager Hank Jongen admitted the agency was making payments to people in multiple-couple relationships.

    “There’s nothing preventing them from being in more than one ‘member of a couple’ relationship at a time,” he said. “In these cases, Centrelink pays each person the relevant income-tested payment at the partnered rate.”

    Some Muslim men have married several wives in their country of origin or at local mosques so they are not recognised under Australian law by state-based births, deaths and marriage registries.

    Islamic Friendship Association of Australia president Keysar Trad said he believed “not many more than 50” Muslim families in Australia were polygamist. But he said he also knew of non-Muslim men who had more than one de facto wife who claimed Centrelink payments.

    Mr Trad agreed only those who could afford a second wife, without reliance on Centrelink, should marry more than one woman.

    “Marriage, whether they are single or plural, I believe in the old adage, they are made in heaven,” he said.

    22 thoughts on “Polygamy is illegal in Australia, but a Centrelink spokeswoman said it was not the welfare agency's job to police polygamy law”

    1. Given that there was no social security at the time mohammad made polygamy the Islamic thing to do – Muslims living off social security today with multiple wives are in fact doing the Islamically correct thing. After all, isn’t social security a form of income and if they can claim multiple streams then they can claim to be supporting their wives.

    2. First off, these stupid women need to shed their Ninja form of dressing and embrace the Australian culture. If they do not wish to do so and believe that it is against their religion, they must be told, that Australia did not invite them here, but, that they took advantage of loopholes in the system. Centre link MUST police polygamy and report these things to our Police for necessary action, like deportation.

    3. In canada one province does permit polygamy.
      In Canada, that province will even force people to become spouses if they don’t want to. Well, if one doesn’t want to for sure.
      Saskatchewan is very progressive in that country and they even have a law that permits its family court justices to legalize polygamous unions.

    4. Canada does allow polygamy (I have researched) but only in the one province of Saskatchewan.
      It is bizarre because the legal system there even forced single men to become spouses of women who were married! I read the Canadian law and it says that ANYONE who assists with or helps persons become recognized as spouses when one or both of them are married is also guilty of polygamy. What I researched was that the men in these court cases said they could not be the legal spouses of married women. They said the women would have had to be divorced to be their spouses. The women did not want to divorce their existing spouses but wanted the property of the men they lived with. The men said the women didn’t have good faith to be married pouses (like common law spouses) because they refused to get divorced and show their sincerity. The Saskatchewan government family court judges basically told the federal Canadian criminal law to stick it! That precedent sounds criminal itself and doesn’t bode well for my neighbors to the north.
      Down in the USA those kind of judges get put behind bars for a real long time. No chance of parole because they are supposed to uphold and enforce the criminal laws instead of breaking them.

    5. i would like to know if they would still be here if there were no benefits in australia. All i know is there wouldn’t be as many getting out of BMW’s and lexus’s with fortnightly forms in there hands. I am not racist just honest. I know there are good muslims, I just see more bad than good especially the younger islamic community. I watched the movie The Message it almost made me want to convert until i started to communicate with the islamic race and seen how i was looked upon in general. In saying that i met three lovely muslims who were great but whats three out of tens of thousands in australia.

    6. I’m confused, I came to this site looking for views on polygamy. I am very much against plural wives and a shit load of kids. Not all Muslims take multiple wives. I’m a white woman. born in London, now living in Sydney, with no particular religious affilation.

    7. Your comments and article were all very interesting. I have been fascinated by polygamy for many years now having done a lot of research myself. I am married and live in Sydney Australia and am looking to speak to anyone that might be involved in a polygamist relationship as research for my novel.

      All details will be kept confidential. If anyone is intertested please contact via email.


    8. I personally cannot see what all the fuss is about? I see women getting about with children by three, four or more different fathers and all you supposedly good christian types don’t say a word. These women are the lowest of the low and their children are little more than gutter rats.
      On the other hand, I have seen a couple of families where I know there is more than one wife and these are respectable people. I cannot explain why there should be such a ‘gulf’ between male and female centered polygamy but there is. Maybe it is spiritual or maybe it is natural, does not one rooster have many hens and one bull many cows? At any rate, I have seen no harmful effects on those involved in Muslim polygamous relationships and have no issue with them or support provided to them whilst people willingly turn a ‘blind eye’ to these women with children by multiple fathers.

      1. Respectable? Really?

        Would you kindly give us one example of these polygamous relationships? Please let us know who is paying for it so we can publish it, will you?

        Like child-marriage, honor killing, clitorectomy, killing of homosexuals, chopping off arms and limbs for stealing, stoning for adulterous women and public flogging for drinking, Islam is a package deal.

        I suppose for you that’s all “respectable”.

        You can’t pick and chose.

        Looking forward to hear from you!

    9. Just wondering Howard, did you ask for proof that these kids have 3 or 4 different fathers? l bet not. Did you have any actual insight into their private lives? l bet not. What gives you the right to call their kids gutter rats? Would you claim that a Muslims’ son is nothing more than a gang rapist? l bet not.

      On the other side of the coin, do you have any actual insight into what actually goes on behind closed doors in these polygamist relationships? Could there be perhaps wives trapped home alone because their “husband” is using them as a centrelink rort?

      l wonder if Centrelink would have the same attitude if a New Zealander with a wife was to come over here and marry one or more women? My bet is that a phone call to the police would be made quite promptly!

    10. * I see women getting about with children by three, four or more different fathers …

      Where do you see these, Howard?

    11. Nothing wrong with polygamy…in fact, scientists believe humans were naturally polygamists in the past.

    12. Sorry but this story is nothing but another ‘beat up’.
      Before anyone gets started I will lay out what I am and what I am not. I am not a muslim but I am in a polyamorus relationship, note the difference, not polygamous.
      Firstly, no-one no matter what religion or ethnic background should be on Centrelink benefits if they do not need to be. Secondly there are plenty of non-muslims who rort the system and live on the dole with no intention of ever getting a job. As for those who doubt the existance of women with children from several different fathers, well we had one living next door to us, three kids, three fathers, all on welfare and they were Aussies!
      I am not particularly fond of any of the religions and islam is one of my least favourite but this is supposed to be the land of the ‘fair go’. Sure give ’em hell if they deserve it (anyone who deserves it that is) but beat up stories like this are just a waste of space.
      As I am in a poly relationship I can tell you that if Polygamous families do need Centrelink assistance they get LESS than a couple and a single would get. Can someone explain how they are ripping off the system by declaring they are in a poly relationship?
      If people genuinely need to be on welfare they they should get it without having to be made to feel guilty. If they don’t deserve to be on it then it is Centrelink’s job to find out and get them off welfare.

    13. http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2011/07/21/australia-sharia-sanctioned-polygamy-and-child-marriage/

      Australia: Sharia-Sanctioned Polygamy and Child Marriage
      Posted By Andrew Bostom On July 21, 2011


      Despite an overall apologetic tone borne of transparent obeisance to cultural relativism, two legal academics, Dr Ann Black and Dr Kerrie Sadiq from The University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law are “suggesting [2]” in their research publication, “Good & Bad Sharia: Australia’s mixed response to Islamic Law” (due to be published in the University of New South Wales Law Journal on Monday July 25, 2011) that,

      Australia is right to act with caution in dealing with Sharia law.

      Why are even these obviously [2] devout votaries of the academic social religion of cultural relativism concerned about the practice of Sharia in Australia at all, or what they term, with revealing euphemism, “legal pluralism?”

      One reason was extracted from the forthcoming paper of Drs. Black and Sadiq, and cited by The Australian’s legal affairs editor, Chris Merrit [3]:

      Valid Muslim polygynist marriages, lawfully entered into overseas, are recognised, with second and third wives and their children able to claim welfare and other benefits.

      Merrit’s background article on Black and Sadiq’s findings also noted [3] how this practice of Muslim polygamy in Australia involved “marriages where one party is under the lawful marriage age.” And Merrit provided this additional context [3]:

      The findings come soon after Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, triggered a backlash inside the Islamic community when he called for Australia to compromise with Islam and embrace legal pluralism …The latest research has found that while polygamy is unlawful, mainstream law accommodates men who arrive in Australia with multiple wives and gives some legal standing to multiple partnerships that originate in Australia.

      More alarming “context” not addressed by the report of Drs. Black and Sadiq, and in fact dismissed by Dr. Black [2] in these words, “The ‘foreignness’ of Sharia law is increased by media reports which highlight ‘differences’ and feed into fears about the Muslim presence in Australia,” was provided by The Australian Daily Telegraph [4]:

      On Sunday, a recent convert to Islam in Sydney was allegedly lashed 40 times with electrical cable by men from his mosque, in a terrifying home invasion, as punishment for drinking alcohol – forbidden under Shariah law. Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

      The staid report by two Australian cultural relativist academics should (but won’t) make our mainstream media talking heads curious about how mainstream Islamic opinion views polygamy in the United States. For example, what have the esteemed mainstream Islamic clerics of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) opined regarding polygamy? The AMJA [5] mission statement maintains:

      [The AMJA was] founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. … AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities.

      A report in The Muslim Observer [6] published October 21, 2010, highlighting AMJA’s “seventh annual American conference of imams,” confirms that the organization is accepted [6] as such by the mainstream American Muslim community. AMJA and its recent “training” conference for American imams were described [6] in these banal terms:

      The organization AMJA (Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America) has a list of scholars associated with it which stretches from Al-Azhar University to Virginia’s Open University, and back across the ocean to the professors at Saudi universities. Its website, amjaonline.com, provides fatawa on many issues and promises 24-hour access to scholars who can give legal opinions on the issues people face. AMJA focuses on providing fatwas to Americans, and believes it is able to provide culturally appropriate fatwas although many of their scholars are not American–because they have some American scholars and because of the technological ties that bind AMJA’s American scholars with those abroad. AMJA just had, in Houston, its seventh annual American conference of imams, and two local Michigan imams attended, namely Imam Musa of Bloomfield’s Muslim Unity Center, and Imam Ali of MCWS. Mr. Sadiqul Hassan of AMJA explained that “the event was the 7th annual imam workshop.” Mr. Hassan said that AMJA is “a fiqh council basically,” with “scholars who live abroad and inside the U.S.; we have experts in different fields to educate about life in the U.S. — fatwa are based on life in the U.S.”

      Not only does AMJA extol polygamy in accordance with the Sharia, AMJA endorses its extra-legal (i.e, vis a vis US law) application here in America, as can be readily gleaned from these two “fatwas” or Islamic legal rulings:

      Fatwa 2134 [7] Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah Date 2006-10-27

      Polygamy in Islam is permissible for different reasons, like:
      1- The sexual energy of men is more than that of women in general. So, in some cases, one wife is not enough to fulfill the conjugal desire of her husband
      2- Pregnancy and delivery negatively affect the shape and physical attraction that women have.
      3- World wide, the percentage of females is always more than that of males, eventually, there must be a solution, either to permit adultery and prostitution, or to allow polygamy
      4- One husband could take care of more than one wife at the same time; socially, financially, and even sexually as I mentioned above. However, the opposite is not right because of the physical and psychological capability that Allah the all mighty gave men.

      Fatwa 3370 [8] Scholar Dr. Hatem al-Haj Date 2007-08-08

      Comment from Muslim questioner: We know that polygamy is against USA law. But I heard from my friend that as long as you don`t register your marriage to the registrar, it is okay to have more than one wife here in the states, i.e., all the wives are living here. The argument that he made was that the law that prohibits marrying more than one is against the shaariah so, it is okay for us to break it…There are some scholars in the USA are practicing polygamy without the knowledge of the authorities using that argument….

      Dr. Hatem al-Haj’s response: Polygamy is halal in Islam and may be highly recommended when the number of females is bigger than that of males to afford all females a decent life that suffices their physiologic, emotional and other needs. The US law about polygamy is against the Islamic law, for no one can make prohibited that which Allah specifically made allowable.

    14. Its Australia’s fault and problem for allowing the support payment s to anyone that has not paid taxes, and is not a dedicated follower of the Australian Culture that the country was founded upon.would we Australians be able to get handouts from any other nation in the world?…No.could we wear our skimpy belly showing body revealing clothing in the Muslim countries? And get away with that…no’So it is Australia fault for enticing it and allowing it all to be legally acceptable.
      I am born in London, and a Citizen of Australia, and I see clearly Australia has created its own down fall.

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