A win for multicultural Australia
I wanted you to know straight away, the Senate here in the Australian Parliament threw out the Government’s changes to Australia citizenship laws.
That means they have said no to the university level English test. It means they have said no to the three year additional wait that was going to cause some people to wait more than ten years before they got to become Australian citizens.
Because of the university English test, some people were going to live here their entire working lives and were never going to be able to become Australian citizens.
So right now, we’ve just had the win that you’ve been campaigning for.
I want to give you full credit, because let’s not pretend this was done by members of Parliament.
This was done by an extraordinary community activism that you were part of and you made sure that you never wasted a conversation.
This will make a real difference to the lives of people who will become good Australian citizens.
This will make a massive difference in people’s lives.
And will guarantee that a whole lot of people who were never going to hear the words ‘Welcome home’ will now be able to make a pledge of commitment to Australia.
Now the Government may well have another go at this.
The Government may well come back and try again.
So, if you are eligible for Australian citizenship under current law my advice is don't waste time.
Get your application in under current law. Get your application in before the government tries to do this again.
I was Minister for Citizenship for a time and when I was, I got to write the message that was read out of every citizenship ceremony and the message that I had finished with the words ‘Welcome home.’
We want to be able to say ‘welcome home’ to you.
Those of you who are ready to become good Australian citizens, those of you who are ready to make your pledge of commitment to Australia. Get your applications in. Make the application go through the existing test. Make your pledge of commitment to this country and the Labor Party will be very, very proud to say back to you ‘welcome home’.
No doubt the government will come back.
There will be another attempt at this.
But right now enjoy the victory, enjoy the moment and know your activism made this happen.
- Tony Burke MP