GOVERNMENT HANDED CITIZENSHIP DEFEAT IN THE SENATE

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, advised he would not back down on his proposed overhaul of Australian citizenship after the package met an untimely death in the Senate on Wednesday.

The changes, which would have imposed a values test, an English language test and a four-year waiting period for permanent residents wanting to become Australian citizens, were stranded after the Government failed to secure cross-party support and was blocked by Labor, the Greens and NXT, who used their votes to impose a Wednesday evening deadline for the Minister to finalise his raft of legislative changes.

In response, the Government said it will introduce new citizenship laws this week and the Minister says they’ll focus on English language competency and more thorough background checks.

The Opposition’s citizenship spokesman, the Hon Tony Burke MP, hailed the outcome as “a great victory for every person who wants to pledge allegiance to this country and make a commitment to Australia”.

The Shadow Minister was quick to warn that the Government would “try again”, and urged the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to commence processing citizenship applications lodged after April 20 — the date the Government announced the changes.

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