ECCQ responds to proposed changes to Australian Citizenship Laws

21 April 2017:  The Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) is concerned proposed changes to the citizenship process may negatively affect Australian residents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds from obtaining citizenship and fully integrating in Australia.

Citizenship is often linked to national and cultural identity as well as feelings of security and inclusion. Encouraging residents to gain citizenship will maximise their commitment to Australia, make the most of their opportunities and potentially maximise their contributions to the wider community, both socially and economically.

ECCQ is concerned that the proposal to only allow applicants three attempts to pass the citizenship test will exclude permanent residents from fully participating in Australian life.

ECCQ CEO Garry Page said this also implies that there is no room for improvement and may also delay residents from trying to obtain citizenship, a vital last step to identifying as Australian.

“It is also currently unclear if failing the test three times means excluding citizenship to a resident indefinitely; particularly a resident who has made a life in Australia.

“Refugees and humanitarian entrants will be most affected by this as many do not have the option to return to their country of origin. In my experience, this group of people are extremely loyal to Australia, law abiding, search for ways to improve themselves and their families, contribute to their community and reach out the wider community. This shows their commitment to Australian values and way of life, much more so than answering multiple choice questions correctly.

“Those who are currently living in Australia as permanent residents have already undergone a lengthy application process and have shown their commitment to living in Australia. By potentially making the path to citizenship more difficult may result in denying residents the role of citizenship and civic duty to vote.

ECCQ believes strengthening Australia’s multicultural society means assisting people to reach their full potential as active members of society and as Australian citizens. These proposed changes may not help to do so for those who have made Australia home.”

Download as a pdf here.

Contact

Carrie Barnett
Communications & Media Manager
Email: carrieb@eccq.com.au
Phone: 07 3844 9166

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ECCQ Ltd has been established for 40 years as the peak body in Queensland for ethnic communities and multiculturalism. ECCQ, and its wholly-owned divisions, encourage and support multiculturalism through community engagement, education and training, health promotion and culturally appropriate aged care service provision.

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