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Significant Community Concerns Over Changes to Citizenship

August 30, 2017

There was a strong demonstration of concern amongst members of Brisbane’s Southside community at the Moreton Citizenship Forum held on Wednesday night. 

The forum was organised by the Federal Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett and Labor Senator for Queensland, Murray Watt, with special guest the Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia, Tony Burke.

Not only were attendees provided with an update on the progression of the Turnbull Government’s proposed citizenship changes, they were also able to share personal stories about the impact these drastic changes are having on the community.

“Citizenship shouldn’t be about politics. It’s about who we are as a nation and the Government’s changes are about telling people from non-English speaking backgrounds that they are simply not welcome the way others are,” said Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia, Tony Burke.

“The change proposed by Prime Minister Turnbull to require an IELTS level 6 of English competency is equivalent to entry requirements at universities. This says to all potential Australians that unless your English is at university level, you’re not worthy of being an Australian citizen. It is snobbish and out of touch,” said Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett.

“The extension of effective waiting times for residents to become Australian citizens serves completely no purpose. It will mean there is a conscious decision from the Turnbull Government to delay people pledging allegiance to Australia, while already allowing them to permanently live here,” said Senator for Queensland, Murray Watt.

The Senate inquiry into the Government’s Citizenship Bill is in Brisbane for hearings tomorrow. 

“This Senate inquiry has so far shown that the Government’s divisive citizenship changes are driving away potential citizens and Labor will not back down,” said MrWatt.

“Moreton is a vibrant culturally diverse community, in fact, it is the most multicultural federal electorate in Queensland; 46 per cent of people who live in Moreton were not born in Australia. The Turnbull Government has completely miscalculated with this divisive legislation,” said Mr Perrett.

These proposed changes have caused immense stress to members of our community, and across the whole of Australia.