AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP BILL 2017 – UPDATE
On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, Senator McKim moved a motion in the Senate to have consideration of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 discharged from the Senate Notice Paper.
This is a little used parliamentary process, whereby the legislation would effectively be ‘struck off’ the list of legislation being considered by the Senate.
Senator Lambie, moved to amend the motion and her amendment was carried. Senator McKim’s motion, as amended, was carried and reads:
That if, by 18 October 2017, the government business order of the day relating to the consideration of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenshipand Other Measures) Bill 2017, has not been finally considered, the order of the day shall be discharged from the Notice Paper.
If the Citizenship Bill cannot be passed by that date and is discharged from the order of business on that date, the Government would need to reintroduce the Bill. However, some political commentators have questioned whether they will have the numbers to do so.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has released its Report on the Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Bill 2017.
The Committee has made four recommendations:
3.122 That the Government clarify the standard for English-language
competency required for citizenship, noting that the required standard should not be so high as to disqualify from citizenship many Australians who, in the past, and with a more basic competency in the English language, have proven to be valuable members of the Australian community.
3.123 That the Government reconsider the imposition of a two-year ban on applications for citizenshipfollowing three failed attempts of the citizenship test, and consider other
arrangements that allow additional tests on a cost-recovery basis that would deter less-genuine applicants.
3.124 That the Government consider introducing some form of transitional provisions for those people who held permanent residency visas on or before 20 April 2017 so that the current residency requirements apply to this cohort of citizenship applicants.
3.125 That the Senate pass the bill.