House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Constituency Statements

Citizenship

10:48 am

Photo of Julian HillJulian Hill (Bruce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I want to draw the House's attention to the case of Ali Yawari from my electorate. I've met Ali many times. He's a frequent visitor and caller to my office. He's lived in Australia for almost 10 years. He's a permanent resident. He's a hardworking man. He works six days a week as a tiler across south-east Melbourne. He's been waiting for four years for his citizenship application to be approved and he inquires regularly. Worse than that, though, he's been waiting for more than six years to see his wife and children, since their visa applications were lodged and nothing has happened. I've written twice to ministers and received the same kind of drivelous, useless, pathetic replies. They use phrases like: 'Things are under assessment. We're doing thorough analysis. Rest assured the case remains under consideration.' And then they talk publicly about a so-called surge in citizenship applications—'We're being overwhelmed!'—an increase in complex cases and delays because of boat people. Let's have a go at boat people. Let's all be terrified of boat people.

The Auditor-General last week exposed each one of these claims by the government as an abject lie. He exposed the maladministration in the Department of Home Affairs and took to pieces every one of those claims. There has been no surge in applications. There was a minor steady increase with population growth, most of it triggered by the government's own racist legislation to introduce a university-level English language test as people rushed to get in. There was no surge. There was no increase in complex applications, as government ministers continue to lie about. The Auditor-General took the numbers to pieces and showed, in fact, there had been a decrease in complex applications. Most of the applications received were from highly skilled migrants with good documentation. Again, the Liberals lie.

The biggest lie of all is to say that this is because of humanitarian arrivals, boat people; 0.7 per cent of applications in 2017-18 were from humanitarian arrivals—0.7 per cent! There has been a decrease by nine per cent of humanitarian arrivals. Every time I talk about this, government muppets opposite start laughing. Do you actually talk to these people who have not seen their wife and children for 10 years? Do you actually talk to these people?

Mr Broad interjecting

We know what you're doing, Member for Mallee, instead of actually doing your constituency work, don't we? The whole nation knows about that. In the queue, 240,000 people are waiting for citizenship, and the government just laughs. Ali's just one of these people, but I'd like to know: when can he see his wife? When can he see his children? When will the government process the pieces of paper sitting in their department?

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