Cohesion begins with newcomers to this country speaking English

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