Nationals Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker spoke in the House of Representatives today, in support of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.
“I welcome the opportunity to speak in support of these important reforms that are so important to so many Australians, because Australian citizenship is a privilege,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“…I think one of the great things about citizenship of this country is that we don’t require people to neglect their heritage.
“We very much encourage them to reflect on their heritage and to preserve their heritage, but we also wish that they would adopt our values and the Australian way of life and contribute as Australian citizens who are born here…
“…If we award the privilege of Australian citizenship to those who don’t respect our values, institutions and the Australian way of life, we are opening ourselves to becoming a nation of division and disunity.
“This bill ensures that every new citizen signs an Australian values statement, but this builds on what is currently in place by requiring applicants to demonstrate they are attempting to integrate with and contribute to the Australian community in accordance with Australian values.
“Merely signing a form is not enough, as it does little in determining whether these individuals are really serious about their commitment to Australian values and the Australian way of life.
“The measure in this bill requires them to demonstrate exactly what they are doing to join our Australian family—for example, getting a job, looking for work or paying tax on the work they are doing to contribute financially to their new home.
“These are practical signs that the applicants for citizenship are genuinely committed to their role in Australian society.
“In addition to the police checks currently conducted, the government of the day will also evaluate whether those applying to be Australian citizens have previously engaged in activities that are inconsistent with Australian values.
“Domestic and family violence is a scourge in this country and something we need to fight, so it would be detrimental to allow violent individuals who have a propensity to conduct themselves in such a way to gain Australian citizenship.
“Failing to stand for a judge in a court of law in this country would be something very inconsistent with our Australian values. Being involved in heinous or organised crime and being part of a gang are not consistent with Australian values…
“So I think it’s appropriate that the changes that the government has made in this legislation should be supported, and it is most disappointing that we are seeing the members opposite flip-flopping on this…
“This is important legislation. It is legislation that should be supported by this House.
“It is disappointing to see the Labor Party once again pandering to the Left, failing to support what is good legislation, what is good policy, what is good practice, to ensure that Australian citizenship remains as a privilege for those who respect our Australian way of life, who are willing to integrate into this country, who respect our values and who will contribute strongly to this nation.”
A full record of Mr Hartsuyker’s speech is available from Parliamentary Hansard, via www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard.