Professor Wayne Erskine lived in Penrith for many years, enjoying life as a respected researcher of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment.
But after separating from his wife, he turned to an Asian dating website, got married and wounded up getting scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, before his passing in 2017.
Now, his son Aaron Erskine is fighting the State Government to rectify an outdated NSW State Super Scheme (SSS) that sees his late father’s life pension paid to his deported online bride.
“He suffered a mental decline and was easily sucked in, he ended up paying $800 a day for this website,” he said.
“He had met this person online and once in real life when travelling to China, she then came to Australia, they got married, were in a relationship for approximately one year and then decided to separate.”
After the pair married, his new wife’s visa application was denied. They submitted an application to a tribunal but once the relationship turned belly up, it was cancelled as Professor Erskine told the immigration department they were no longer together.
All Australian couples must wait approximately one year until they can get a divorce, tragically Professor Erskine passed away just one day shy of the eligibility date.
Due to the NSW Government Employee Super Scheme that Professor Erskine was a part of, this meant that his ‘wife’ would now be paid a life pension of $75,000 per year.
“This scheme (SSS) has no safeguards, if the member was married, then the spouse will receive a reversionary pension, guaranteed for life. No exceptions. No discretion. No factors can be considered and no legal process can change this,” Mr Erskine said.
Mr Erskine has taken his campaign to the road, with a specially marked trailer that become very visible during the recent State Election campaign.
A NSW Industrial Relations spokesperson said the pension must be paid in accordance with the governing legislation.
“Mr Erskine has been advised that if he can provide evidence of the annulment or dissolution of the marriage to the SAS Trustee Corporation (STC), then they may be able to consider this evidence,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Erskine said he is disgusted that the Government continues to allow the woman to “scam money” from taxpayers when he has the documents to prove they weren’t together at his father’s time of death.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.