Will Australia stop discriminating against New Zealanders?

Clare ONeil Q+A NZ
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil. (Source: Q and A)

Andrew Macfarlane, 1News Australia Correspondent

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister has admitted the country is treating New Zealanders like second-class citizens. Speaking to Q+A, Clare O’Neil said “that’s something that’s really been bothering me for a long time, and I know, bothers our prime minister Anthony Albanese”.

“I think we have reached a real change in the tone and tenor of this relationship and that’s largely built off this really deep and genuine friendship between our two prime ministers,” she said. “So we are having a look at the moment about what we can do to make this fairer because the truth is that Australians in New Zealand are treated in a very different way than New Zealanders are in Australia and it’s something the government wants to address.”

It comes just five months out from significant changes that are expected to make it easier for New Zealanders to become Australian citizens. Speaking earlier this year, Albanese said Australia didn’t “want people to be temporary residents forever”.

The current system has been labelled “confusing” and “overly complex” by advocacy group Oz Kiwi. For many New Zealanders they have to meet strict criteria around when they moved to the country, along with income tests, or pay expensive sponsorship fees.

For those who exist on a temporary Special Character Visa, they’re largely denied access to disability payments, jobseeker support, and student loan services, despite paying the same taxes as citizens.

O’Neil said these policies are on the table for change. “One of the things that’s really interesting is that for a bunch of kind of complex legal reasons, New Zealanders can’t transition to become Australian citizens in the way that migrants from other countries around the world are able to do,” she said.

The upcoming changes are expected to be formally announced on ANZAC Day 2023.

Read the 1 News article.

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil. (Source: Q and A)

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