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Thursday, 10 August 2017
Page: 5378

Citizenship


Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (14:35): My question is to Senator Cash, the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. As outlined in a recent letter to the minister, my office has been informed by a constituent who sought to apply for citizenship in mid-April that he repeatedly received an error message when he sought to upload supporting documents to complete his citizenship application. A few days later the government announced its citizenship changes. Is the minister aware of any problems that existed with the DIBP website in the weeks before it made its citizenship announcement?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:36): I thank Senator Griff for the question and for the courtesy of prior notice and, obviously, for bringing this individual's issue to the government's attention. I have been advised by the minister's office that he received the senator's letter earlier this week. I am instructed that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is investigating this matter. I am also advised that there were over 4,200 applications for citizenship lodged in the week to the 20 April 2017. I am further advised that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has identified a total of 24 people, out of the 4,200, who were affected by IT issues.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Griff, a supplementary question.



Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (14:37): That is interesting. Can the government confirm whether applications made after 20 April from people who have been permanent residents for fewer than four years will remain frozen until the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 is voted on?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:37): I thank Senator Griff for the supplementary question. Again, I am advised that the department will look at each case on its merits. Where people lodged a completed application before 20 April 2017 or, in good faith, can demonstrate they attempted to do so, consideration will be given to progressing the application under the requirements that existed at that time.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Griff, a final supplementary question.



Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (14:37): Given that this is all creating a great degree of angst and uncertainty amongst those permanent residents whose applications are in limbo, how long is the government prepared to let this situation run?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:38): Thank you, Senator Griff, for the further supplementary question. Again, I am advised that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has identified a total of 24 people who were affected by the IT issues out of the 4,200. At this point in time, I am advised that the department will be looking at each case on its merits. But if I can get any further information from the minister for you, Senator Griff, I will.