Report on Australian Citizenship Bill (2018)
17 March 2019
On 15 March 2018 the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee released a report on its inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018. Senator Pauline Hanson introduced the Private Members Bill into the Senate in February 2018.
During the Committees' inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (2017)*the Committee received approximately 14,000 submissions. Many of the submissions were form letters or merely indicated whether the individual supported the Bill.
For this inquiry the Committee conducted a survey, asking 'Do you support the provisions of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018?' Of the 140,646 responses received:
- 126,322 respondents (89.81 per cent) did not support the Bill; and
- 14,324 (10.19 per cent) supported for the Bill.
Oz Kiwi made a submission to the inquiry (19 Oz Kiwi PDF) but did not attend the public hearing in Canberra.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommends that:
- there is no limitation on attempts to sit a citizenship test, with a fee charged following the first three attempts.
- the English-language standards be amended to IELTS 5.
- the Senate not pass the Bill in the current form.
Download the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee full report.
What happens now?
The Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill (2018) has passed the House of Representatives and is still before the Senate. It is unlikely to pass, given there are very few Parliamentary sitting days before the 2019 Federal election.
Citizenship application backlog
The Department of Home Affairs stopped processing citizenship applications received between April 2017 and October 2017, awaiting the outcome of the proposed 2017 Citizenship Bill This has caused a backlog of more than 200,000 citizenship applications. Processing times have increased to between 17 and 22 months from lodgement to ceremony.