Tudge repeats Dutton's mistakes on English language requirement

The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge MP, has made an extraordinary attack on the City of Greater Dandenong in a speech to the Liberal Party-aligned Menzies Research Centre in Sydney.

The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP

Shadow Attorney General
Shadow Minister for National Security
Federal Member for Isaacs

 

 MEDIA RELEASE 

 

TUDGE REPEATS DUTTON’s mistakes on english language requirement

 

The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge MP, has made an extraordinary attack on the City of Greater Dandenong in a speech to the Liberal Party-aligned Menzies Research Centre in Sydney.

 

In his speech calling for the introduction of greater English language requirements for citizenship – a proposal that the government tried and failed to pass through the Parliament in 2017 - Mr Tudge singled out the City of Greater Dandenong as a city with a high number of residents who do not speak fluent English and suffers subsequently low levels of community integration.

 

This is a deplorable attack on the City of Greater Dandenong and shows Mr Tudge’s utter lack of understanding of Australia’s multicultural communities.

 

In 2017 the government attempted to create a university-level English language requirement to become an Australian citizen and the Parliament rightly voted it down.

 

It appears that Mr Tudge is now laying the groundwork for the government’s second attempt at implementing this requirement for Australian citizenship. This is remarkable at a time that the government has gutted funding to the Adult Migrant Education Program, which teaches English to new arrivals.

 

Every single person in the City of Greater Dandenong will know someone who came to Australia with English language skills that were below university-level. The City has flourishing Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian and Albanian communities, to name just a few, that have contributed so much to the great multicultural fabric that is Greater Dandenong. Mr Tudge’s suggestion that the members of these communities who did not speak university-level English when they became citizens somehow failed to integrate, or are making a lesser contribution to our community, is contemptible and simply wrong. A government minister should know better.

 

Labor will not support any plan by the government to introduce a university-level English language test to become an Australian citizen. The test is already in English and requires conversational English to understand, and that is enough.

 

Mr Tudge should apologise to the people of the City of Greater Dandenong for his lazy and ill-informed smear.

 

TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2018
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