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We lived in the US (H-1B and then Green Card) for long enough that I've qualified for Social Security payments (40 quarters), but had moved back to Australia intending it to be a short trip, but have now decided to stay.

As our Green Cards will be invalid for travel, and we'd still like to visit the US the logical thing would seem to be to abandon the Green Card and then apply for regular tourist visas when visiting.

If I do abandon the green card, will I still be able to claim social security payments at retirement, and in order to do so do I need to continue to file tax returns (even though I'll no longer be a US Resident for tax purposes), and maintain a US bank account?

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It's a non trivial question with a lot of different edge cases depending on your personal situation and the countries involved. You can start learning more by reading this AARP article and the SSA booklet it links to.

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