Citizenship Law changes – it’s not too late to have your say!

Multicultural Council encourages people to make submissions to the Senate Inquiry by next Friday 21 July

Background

The Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and other Measures) Bill 2017.

This Bill will dramatically change the rules determining qualification for Australian citizenship by:

  • Extending the waiting period for permanent residents from one year to “at least four years” before eligibility for citizenship
  • Increasing the English language requirement to qualify for Australian citizenship
  • Widening Ministerial discretion to deny citizenship in individual immigration cases.

The Multicultural Council believes that this Bill will create a permanent underclass of Australian residents denied the rights and opportunities of being welcomed and included as Australian citizens.  The changes to citizenship proposed in the Bill run counter to Australia’s long-standing immigration policy, which has created a successful and harmonious multicultural Australian community.

Why make a submission?

The Senators looking into the proposed changes to the law need to have a better understanding of what people think about these changes and how they could affect people. A submission is your way to pass on this information and have your say about these proposed changes to the law.

These changes have not yet been passed – this means we may be able to prevent them coming into force. If the Inquiry gets a lot of submissions, this sends a strong signal to the Senators that many people are concerned about these proposed changes.

What does a submission look like?

A submission can be a one-page letter! It does not have to be complicated – it simply needs to outline your views and provide any information you think the Senators should be aware of. For example, you may want to outline how:

  • The changes have disrupted you and your family from making plans for your future life in Australia,
  • Your concern about the strict nature of English language testing and how your English skills do not affect your ability to be an Australian citizen,
  • How you felt after your own citizenship ceremony, and how it made you feel more connected to Australia,
  • How your older migrant parents would not have never passed this kind of English test and how it would have felt for them if they had never been citizens.

You can ask that your submission be kept confidential. Your submission needs to be emailed to legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

More details of how to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry can be found here.

If community organisations or individuals would like further information on making a submission or would like us to check your submission, please contact MCOT on ceo@mcot.org.au

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