Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge confirms the commitment of the Federal Government to the importance of English as a prerequisite for Australian citizenship.
Though the Coalition government tried to introduce a bill to make the citizenship prerequisites stricter last year, it failed to pass through the Senate. Now another bill is waiting to be discussed in the Parliament, introduced by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson, which also amends the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 in relation to strengthened citizenship requirements, including English language proficiency.
These two elements were brought to the foreground last week, as they are included in the Federal Budget.
“We are still planning on introducing some reasonable requirements for new migrants to learn conversational English before becoming a citizen,” Minister Alan Tudge stated to Neos Kosmos. “It is difficult today to get good employment without English and, of course, basic English is vital to be a full participant in our democracy.”
This specific reference to “conversational” English is a far cry from the ‘university level’ English test that government critics were concerned that the ministry was aiming to introduce. “Importantly, these requirements would not apply to anyone over the age of 60,” the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs clarified.