Resort of the scoundrel

By June 16, 2017Australian Politics

Malcolm Turnbull has called on new citizens “to join us as Australian patriots” and that they should be “committed to the values that define us, committed to the values that unite us”. The new citizenship laws mean that permanent residents will have to wait an extra three years before applying for citizenship, will have to pledge allegiance to Australia, pass a stand-alone English test, and show evidence they have integrated1. Despite Peter Dutton’s assurances that these new rules would apply to everyone, Malcolm Turnbull has had to correct him, and assure the New Zealand Prime Minister, Bill English, that this would not apply to the fast-tracking of Kiwi applications2.

These changes simply mean that people who want to become Australian citizens, will find it more difficult and more expensive. This is just another dog-whistle to try to win back conservative voters from One Nation and other right wing fringe groups like the Australian Conservatives, which Cory Bernardi maintains is taking members from the Liberal Party3.

Again, it is also just another example of a government so bereft of any consideration for people. One Nation and Australian Conservative voters will be in raptures over this, and may again be attracted to the Liberal Party, simply because when they think of immigration and citizenship, they see brown people in funny clothes, for that is the limit of their imagination. What about all the spouses, fiancés and fiancées, and children who now have to wait another three years to gain citizenship? They apparently don’t matter.

Samuel Johnson said that patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel. I think I now know what to make of Malcolm Turnbull.

Sources

  1. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/06/13/turnbull-national-security-statement/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/28/malcolm-turnbull-tries-to-reassure-new-zealand-over-citizenship-fears
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/15/cory-bernardi-says-liberals-flocking-to-australian-conservatives

 

4 Comments

  • Jim Jago says:

    While Turnbull may well be bowing to the right wingers, including the conservative side of his own party, some of the Nationals, One Nation and Cory Bernardi’s lot, it does not mean he is entirely wrong. I have thought for many years that Australia grants citizenship far too easily. In my long held view, someone should have lived permanently in Australia for at least five years before being eligible to apply for citizenship. Something that is given away cheaply is not valued. After five years in Australia, prospective new citizens should also have a reasonable command of the English language. As mentioned previously, this may be difficult in some cultures where some, particularly the women, may not be literate in their own language. However, there are a lot of courses in English given to such people–we have a friend who is doing precisely that on a voluntary basis.

    • admin says:

      Jim,
      I disagree with you entirely, because this strikes very, very close to home for me. It is not given away cheaply, it is given away in a shorter time. I had lots of family friends and a father-in-law who were refugees after WW2 and some mates who were refugees from SE Asia, and who did a lot for this country. Making them wait an extra three years just because you want to drag some votes back from the One Notion party is a disgrace. It is just another howardesque dog whistle and is to be deplored at every level. This ‘government’ are a disgrace. And your friend who is giving classes in English is doing so on a voluntary basis (i.e without getting paid). English classes should be made available to everyone who needs them. In fact, some of the bogans I have interacted with, although born here are probably functionally illiterate; they could do with them too!

  • Jim Jago says:

    We will have to agree to disagree. I am sure many of us have friends and relatives who are migrants and/or refugees–this is probably the norm in Australia these days, at least in the major cities. Certainly when our extended family gets together it is a bit like the United Nations, with people from all over the place. They are of varying races and religions. However, to me that is completely irrelevant. In my view there is a principle involved and that is that Australian citizenship should have real value, and I would suggest five years is a reasonable length of time to wait for something as significant as citizenship of a new country. If you can obtain something too easily it is not valued. Incidentally, I doubt if the suggested changes will influence how people vote–I would suggest that it is very much a marginal issue for the great majority of people. To quote Bill Clinton, “It is the economy stupid”. I would think that most people will be much more interested in the ridiculous increases in electricity and gas prices than in changes to citizenship laws.
    Re your comments on English teaching, you are correct in that it should be a government responsibility, but there never seems to be enough money to go around, and volunteers have to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, your other comment is also correct and the standard of literacy amongst the general population could be improved. Part of the problem here is the ability and status of teachers these days, but that is another topic.

    • admin says:

      Jim,

      You may have not met many bogans, but I have, fortunately only online, and the economy doesn’t matter to them at all. They have jobs and that is all they think about the economy. Their main concern is making Australia white again, and that is why they are easily appealed to with a dog whistle. They are so thick, they think Pauline Hanson is an intellectual, and that Malcolm Roberts is not mad. If you get to meet some of these people, they will frighten the bejesus out of you.

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