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Council to examine Australian citizenship



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r96055 http://164.97.143.2/minrel/r96055.htm

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600--------Telephone (06) 277 7860; Facsimile (06) 273 4144

MPS 55/96

Council to examine Australian citizenship

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today announced funding o f $700,000 over three years for the Australian Council on Citizenship to undertake a comprehensive review o f citizenship in Australia.

"This is a key element in implementing the Government's commitment to enhancing the national significance o f Australian citizenship," Mr Ruddock said. "Council members will be prominent Australians drawn from a broad cross-section o f the Australian community. Individual members will

offer a wide range o f expertise to the Council."

One o f the key functions o f the Council will be to review Australian citizenship legislation. This will include a review o f citizenship requirements such as residency, fluency in English and the pledge o f commitment taken by new citizens. Consideration will also be given to the issue o f dual citizenship.

The Council will advise on how best to celebrate the 50th anniversary o f Australian citizenship on 26 January 1999 and how to promote increased community awareness o f the significance o f Australian citizenship.

Mr Ruddock said one aim o f the review was to make citizenship more meaningful for all Australians. As part o f its considerations the Council would undertake widespread community consultations.

"Pride in our country and a true sense o f nationhood can be enhanced by greater understanding of citizenship," he said. "For new settlers, becoming an Australian citizen is an important event. As part o f this review we will overhaul citizenship ceremonies to make them more memorable and meaningful."

The Minister said that while the Joint Standing Committee on Migration had reported on citizenship in 1994, the previous government had set down restrictive terms o f reference and, even then, failed to fully respond to the report.

Canberra, 20 August 1996

Media inquiries: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715 or (06) 277 7860

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