Standing up for Canberra

Citizenship shouldn't be about politics

In his message to new citizens, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection writes:

People of all backgrounds and religions strengthen our country and only together, united will our future be as strong as our present and past.

So why is the government making it so difficult for people to become Australian citizens? Two weeks ago, I received an email from the Community Services Directorate of the ACT government telling me that one of the two upcoming citizenship ceremonies on 12 October had been cancelled. The email read, 'Due to a decline in the number of citizenship candidates, the afternoon ceremony at 1.30 pm has been cancelled.' The number of people seeking Australian citizenship in the ACT hasn't declined; it hasn't stalled. It's the process that has stalled—the process.

Each week my office gets phone calls and emails from people wanting updates on their citizenship applications—applications that are sitting idle in the department, waiting to be processed. This is the system that the Turnbull government has put in place. It's told citizenship aspirants they don't need to bother to apply, that applications received after 20 April will not be processed. This is absolutely outrageous. Citizenship shouldn't be about politics. It should be about who we are as a modern nation, and these attacks by the government are a direct attack on Australia as a multicultural nation.

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