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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10053

Citizenship


Mr TED O'BRIEN (Fairfax) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on steps the government is taking to strengthen the requirements for Australian citizenship, and is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:00): I thank the honourable member for Fairfax. He's a great member on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and making a great contribution here in Canberra.

The Martin Place siege inquiry made clear the importance of strengthening the process around gathering information in granting and revoking both visas and citizenship. In fact, the inquiry recommended:

… policy and legislative changes necessary to support decisions to grant or revoke an initial visa, subsequent visas and, citizenship.

The Turnbull government strongly believes that aspiring Australians should support the fundamental Australian values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Of course, becoming an Australian citizen is an incredible privilege, and we must ensure that new Australians support our laws and obey not only those laws but our values as well. The vast majority of people who migrate to our country, we know, contribute to our society and economy, are law abiding—

Dr Aly interjecting

Mr Pasin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will just pause for a second. The member for Cowan and the member for Barker will cease their conversation immediately, or they'll have it outside the chamber. The minister has the call.

Mr DUTTON: They are law abiding and they are good, decent people. But the government have introduced changes which at one point were supported by the Leader of the Opposition, and now he's flipped his position and doesn't support what we're doing in relation to citizenship changes. Is it any wonder that the Australian people don't know where this Leader of the Opposition stands from one day to the next?

What we're proposing is very reasonable. We're proposing, for example, that we can make changes around the way in which the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can block decisions for citizenship and dangerous individuals. The fact is that the AAT has found that child rapists, murderers and drug dealers have been of good character and that they should be allowed to be granted citizenship. I'm sorry, but I think I talk on behalf of all members of this side of the parliament when I say that we do not agree with that opinion. If the law needs to be changed, it will be changed, and that's what we're proposing, but we are opposed by the Leader of the Opposition.

Again, on this topic, there was one point in time when the Leader of the Opposition supported this position, but again he has backflipped and has now adopted a new position. If you look at his history both inside this place and outside this place, that would come as no surprise to anyone at all, because he's not a person of consistent character, and he's not a person who can hold a position from one day to the next. No wonder the Australian people have a huge question mark over this Leader of the Opposition.

This government will make sensible changes around citizenship laws so that it can support the vast majority of people who would do the right thing. But we want to knock out those people who do not support Australian laws and who do not abide by the Australian way of life or integrate into the Australian community. The government is absolutely determined to get these laws through, with or without the support of this weak Leader of the Opposition.