Calwell MP calls Government's citizenship changes "blatant racism"

Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell, delivered a scathing speech on the Turnbull Government’s proposed changes to Australian citizenship requirements. 

In her speech, she rejected calls that these changes were merely snobbery or elitism by the Government, she instead said they were a form of “blatant racism by a government that stands to do one thing and that is to divide the Australian community”.

Delivered in the House of Representatives Main Chamber on Thursday 10 August, she called the changes a “calculated and harsh hurdle” to citizenship for the new migrants and refugees to Australia.

"These changes are divisive as they have been solely designed to deliberately exclude people – NOT to include them,” she said.

One of the proposed changes will see the level of English required for Australian citizenship increased to IELTS level 6. A rationale for this change given by the Coalition was to aid in the integration of new migrants to Australia.

However, Ms Vamvakinou made reference to the thousands of migrants to Australia – including her family – who successfully integrated and added to the nation building of contemporary multicultural Australia, and who did so with limited English and as Australian citizens.

“This is not the way a progressive forward thinking country behaves in a global community,” she said in closing.

The purpose of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 put forward by the Turnbull Government is to amend the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to change a number of requirements relating to eligibility for citizenship.

View full speech here:

For more information on the Bill: Thursday 10 August, 2017 MEDIA CONTACT: Penni Pappas, 0416 481 626