Malcolm Turnbull has called on new citizens “to join us as Australian patriots” and that they should be “committed to the values that define us, committed to the values that unite us”. The new citizenship laws mean that permanent residents will have to wait an extra three years before applying for citizenship, will have to pledge allegiance to Australia, pass a stand-alone English test, and show evidence they have integrated1. Despite Peter Dutton’s assurances that these new rules would apply to everyone, Malcolm Turnbull has had to correct him, and assure the New Zealand Prime Minister, Bill English, that this would not apply to the fast-tracking of Kiwi applications2.
These changes simply mean that people who want to become Australian citizens, will find it more difficult and more expensive. This is just another dog-whistle to try to win back conservative voters from One Nation and other right wing fringe groups like the Australian Conservatives, which Cory Bernardi maintains is taking members from the Liberal Party3.
Again, it is also just another example of a government so bereft of any consideration for people. One Nation and Australian Conservative voters will be in raptures over this, and may again be attracted to the Liberal Party, simply because when they think of immigration and citizenship, they see brown people in funny clothes, for that is the limit of their imagination. What about all the spouses, fiancés and fiancées, and children who now have to wait another three years to gain citizenship? They apparently don’t matter.
Samuel Johnson said that patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel. I think I now know what to make of Malcolm Turnbull.