Home | Australia | Clock ticking for Malcolm Turnbull on major Australian citizenship shake-up

Clock ticking for Malcolm Turnbull on major Australian citizenship shake-up

The Federal Government has been given four parliamentary sitting days to bring its controversial changes to citizenship laws on for debate in the Senate or risk having them struck off.

A Greens motion passed the Upper House on Wednesday with the support of Labor, the Nick Xenophon Team and Jacqui Lambie, giving an October 18 deadline for debate to start.

The legislation would make it harder to become an Australian citizen through a range of changes including a tougher English test, Australian values test and extending the waiting time for permanent residents to apply to four years.

Liberal National Party Senator James McGrath said the motion was a stunt which showed how little respect the Greens had for Australian citizenship.

“In lurching to the extreme left in partnering with the Greens, Labor has hit a new low for border integrity,” Senator McGrath told Parliament.

Earlier, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Labor didn’t want a debate on citizenship because it was internally divided on the issue.

“When the Labor Party cuddled up next to the Greens, 50,000 people came on 800 boats and 1200 people drowned at sea,” Mr Dutton said.

Nick Xenophon Team Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore said the Government needed to go back to the drawing board.

“The Nick Xenophon Team will oppose the Bill in its entirety because it’s fundamentally flawed and would require significant redrafting for us to consider it,” Senator Kakoschke-Moore told Parliament.

Greens Senator Nick McKim, who moved the motion, said it was a win for people in limbo since the Government announced the changes in April.

“Peter Dutton knows he doesn’t have the numbers for this divisive Bill — he has failed in his attempts to remake this country in his own hateful image,” Senator McKim said in a statement.

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