Labor set to block Federal Government’s proposed changes to citizenship laws

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton stands in the corner in the spotlight as bill shorten and another MP walk away from him.  (ABC News: Marco Catalano)

Update

18 October 2017
The proposed citizenship changes will not be implemented after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was struck down by the Senate today. Oz Kiwi can now confirm that current citizenship law applies.


Oz Kiwi opinion

Oz Kiwi met with Labor MP’s Clare O’Neil, Dr Jim Chalmers, Julian Hill and Andrew Giles yesterday along with Senator Nick McKim (Greens). We also met with senior advisors for Senator Wong (Labor), Senator Kakoschke-Moore (NXT), Seantor Xenophon (NXT), and Senator Brian Burston (One Nation). These were productive meetings, and we thank them all or their time.

We can now confirm that Labor has decided to block the Citizenship Amendment Bill unless the four (4) year Residence Requirement and additional English language test requirements are removed.

The Greens do not support the Bill – we’ll confirm their position further in due course.

We will confirm NXT and Senator Lambie respective positions once we have this information.


Labor set to block Federal Government’s proposed changes to citizenship laws

20 June 2017

Eliza Borrello – ABC AM

The Labor caucus is today expected to reject key aspects of the Federal Government’s proposed changes to citizenship laws.

Labor’s executive met last night and the ABC understands it resolved to block the legislation unless changes are made.

In particular, the shadow cabinet is against making permanent residents wait four years before they can apply for citizenship and it will not accept the tougher English language test the Government is proposing.

On ABC’s Q&A program last night, Labor frontbencher Linda Burney said Labor was yet to settle on a final position but she was worried the Coalition was setting the language pass mark too high.

“This test we believe is requiring people to have level 6 or university English,” she said.

“Now is that really fair for people who are escaping terrible situations?”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said the Government was not asking for university level English.

But the Coalition does want citizens to achieve a so-called Band 6 on the International English Language Testing System.

Band 6 speakers are described as having “an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings”.

“They can [also] use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.”

New citizens to sign up to Australian values

The Prime Minister says Australia’s new citizenship test will be even more stringent than it already is. Try your luck with some of the questions in the current test.
The Government’s legislation also includes a requirement for citizenship applicants to sign a statement promising to share Australian values.

Liberal senator James Paterson said it was an important move.

“Some of the things that we’re looking at including in the values test in the citizenship application is an acceptance and understanding that domestic violence is completely unacceptable in Australia,” he said.

The legislation would also give the Immigration Minister the power to ignore citizenship decisions made by the administrative appeals tribunal.

Members of Labor’s left faction said that aspect was troubling too.

The Prime Minister says Australia’s new citizenship test will be even more stringent than it already is. Try your luck with some of the questions in the current test.

[Read the ABC AM article].

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