House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Statements by Members


1:35 pm

Photo of Mark DreyfusMark Dreyfus (Isaacs, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Attorney General) Share this | | Hansard source

Two hundred and forty-two thousand—that's the latest count of Australians waiting to be approved for citizenship under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government. That's up from 27,000 in 2013, a nearly nine-fold increase. I'm regularly contacted by people in my electorate, asking why their application to be a citizen of our great country—the country that they love and they want to serve—has been so delayed. People who want nothing more than to contribute to their adopted country, as citizens, are being kept waiting by this Liberal government, with no reasonable explanation.

When 242,000 people on partner visas, business visas, skilled visas—the lot—are waiting but are unable to take the next step, something is wrong, and it's this government. Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison have overseen a dramatic blowout in citizenship processing. We should welcome people who already live in this country and want to formalise their allegiance and love for our great nation, not deter them, not frustrate them, not push them away. I call on the new Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs to clean up the mess of his predecessor, the member for Aston, and do what's right, not just for the over 200,000 people waiting but for Australia, which benefits when good, hardworking people want to contribute to what makes this country great.