Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten speaking at the National Conference in Melbourne. (Photo: Hamish Blair)
At its National Conference last week-end the Australian Labor Party (ALP) adopted two new party policies that are of relevance to New Zealanders in Australia. At last, a major Australian party is officially acknowledging there is a problem and committing to finding a solution. This is a major breakthrough – one that was almost unimaginable just a couple of years ago!
The two policies are:
- “Labor is committed to ensuring that no migrant is permanently temporary. This recognises that many permanent migrants begin their time in Australia as temporary migrants.”
- “Labor believes that there is an inequity for New Zealand citizens living in Australia under the terms of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangements (TTTA). Labor believes that there should be consideration given to the permanent residency status and potential citizenship arrangements for New Zealand citizens living in Australia under the terms of the TTTA.”
We must thank Henry Sherrell for proposing the first of these policies and the National Union of Workers for proposing the second. Both have been strong advocates for Kiwis in Australia and have helped bring the issues facing them to greater national attention.
We must also thank all of those who have worked tirelessly over the years to overturn the 2001 changes. Some are actively involved with Oz Kiwi, others have been working alone or in other organisations. For all, this is a vindication of years of hard work.
Thanks also go to all of Oz Kiwi’s supporters. Without your constant pestering of your MPs, your donations, and your demonstrations of support, politicians would likely have continued to overlook this issue.
While this is a substantial victory, we have not yet achieved our goal. This is not the time to sit back and relax, but rather a time to intensify our efforts.
At Oz Kiwi, we’re toiling away behind the scenes to develop reasonable policy proposals and provide costings for these. We continue to speak to politicians, community groups, unions, and others to build a coalition to support change. We will be making more trips to Canberra over the coming year to push the issue with politicians from all parties.
In the coming days, we will provide you with advice on how you can help the cause at this critical moment!
Thank you for your support.