Cohesion begins with newcomers to this country speaking English, by Jennifer Oriel.
Labor and the Greens have opposed recent government efforts to strengthen citizenship requirements and reform the Migration Act. Labor rejected the Coalition’s recommendation to amend the act to permit mandatory cancellation of visas for violent offenders aged between 16 and 18. It also rejected a recommendation to cancel the visas of anyone over 18 convicted of violent offences such as assault, sexual offences or the possession of child pornography.
Labor joined the Greens to vote down the government’s planned reforms to citizenship requirements last year. A major point of contention was the proposal to set an English test as a threshold requirement for citizenship. The proposal is based on a general shift in Coalition policy from social inclusion to social cohesion. …
In his speech to the Menzies Research Centre, [the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge] explained why: “The left focuses almost exclusively on the concept of ‘inclusion’. Inclusion is fundamental but it implies that all the responsibility is on the host population to ‘include’ newcomers. But to become a fully functioning integrated society, newly arrived migrants also need to take positive steps. There is an onus on all of us.” He emphasised the fastest routes to integration are learning English and getting a job. Yet a higher percentage of new arrivals in the 2016 census reported not speaking English well or at all compared with new arrivals in the 2011 census.
hat-tip Stephen Neil