On 20 April 2017, the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcom Turnbull MP, and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, announced a package of measures to reform citizenship. The Prime Minister explained that the changes were informed by feedback received from the National Consultation on Citizenship in 2015 and on the Productivity Commission's 2016 report, Migrant Intake into Australia, and would include:
- Requiring all applicants to pass a stand-alone English test, involving reading, writing, listening and speaking;
- Requiring applicants to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four years (instead of one year at present);
- Strengthening the citizenship test itself with new and more meaningful questions that assess an applicant’s understanding of - and commitment to - our shared values and responsibilities;
- Requiring applicants to show the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community. Examples would include evidence of employment, membership of community organisations and school enrolment for all eligible children.
- Limiting the number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship test to three (at present there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can fail the test);
- Introducing an automatic fail for applicants who cheat during the citizenship test
This report consists of three chapters:
- Chapter 1 provides an overview of the bill, as well as the administrative details of the inquiry.
- Chapter 2 provides a brief background to the bill and other inquiries and consultations relevant to the bill.
- Chapter 3 outlines the provisions of the bill in more detail, and discusses the key issues raised by submitters about the proposed amendments, as well as providing the committee's views and recommendation.