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Citizenship test nothing more than cynical wedge politics.

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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

Citizenship test nothing more than cynical wedge politics

Senator Nettle, 11th December 2006 Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today criticised the new citizenship testing regime announced by the Prime Minister today as 'nothing more than cynical wedge politics.'

"If the Australian value of celebrating multiculturalism were part of this new test I think John Howard would fail it," Senator Nettle said.

"These tests will prove nothing, and achieve nothing beyond wedging the Labor Party in a cynical use of race politics.

"The Prime Minister has utterly failed to justify the need for these tests or show how they will make Australians better off.

"The Greens call on Kevin Rudd's ALP to join us in voting against any legislation to introduce these tests.

"The Prime Minister is deliberately trying to create the false impression that there is a problem with the quality of migrants we are getting into Australia, when the reality is quite the opposite.

"The Greens submission to the Minister's Citizenship Discussion Paper process detailed how in fact migrants' English language proficiency has significantly improved over the term of the Howard government.

"These citizenship tests and English language tests are a slap in the face for all the new migrants who have worked so hard to learn English and settle down so successfully in Australia.

"If the Government were serious about further helping migrants to learn English then instead of introducing tests they would increase funding and accessibility of the Adult Migrant English Language Programme.

"The Greens remind the Prime Minister that there are already significant provisions for English language testing and teaching for new migrants and citizens."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 213 146