The Migration ‘debate’

Since finishing up in the Senate, I have been trying to take the opportunity to do a range of different things, focusing on areas where I think I can be useful and/or which I find interesting or enjoyable. Apart from spending more time in pastimes like music or social cricket, and speaking at and attending…

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Mandatory detention (sort of) scrapped

It is wonderful to see the news that the federal government plans to finally scrap mandatory indefinite immigration detention and adopt the common sense (and much cheaper) approach that people should not be locked up for extended periods just because they are without a valid visa, unless there are compelling reasons to do so.  Immigration…

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Germany tries the Citizenship Test

Australia’s recently introduced citizenship test is currently being reviewed by the new Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans. Germany is in the process of introducing a similar test, which will operate from Sept 1st.  Some of the criticisms of it are similar to those that have been raised here. This article, reporting on a conference on immigration issues…

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My actual final speech

Due to the way the government wanted to order Senate business in the final week, the formal Valedictory speeches of departing Senators were not actually the last speech for many of us. Below is the text of what was my actual final speech (and the final words spoken by a Democrat in the Senate).  I…

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Supporting Australians from Africa

Today I attended an event organised by the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland – a big gathering in support of our African communities in and around Brisbane. There would have been about 250 or 300 people there. It was a very informal event at Orleigh Park in West End, mainly to show welcome and solidarity,…

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Some Australians are more equal than others

On Friday night I attended and spoke at a pre-election forum in Brisbane organised by the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland. It was focused on the issues of immigration, citizenship, multiculturalism and refugees & asylum seekers. Other speakers apart from me were Laurie Ferguson from the ALP, Teresa Gambaro from the Liberals, Larissa Waters from…

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US citizenship test

It seems like both the content and topic of citizenship tests fascinate lots of people. The YouTube video Lyn Allison did on the topic got a lot more views than usual, as well as generating some media coverage. Of course, it’s also given the Coalition party yet another reason to spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars…

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Migration, citizenship and integration

I was in Hobart on Monday at the annual conference of FECCA – the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia. I gave a speech on the topic of citizenship and migration. The government is currently making much of their new citizenship test, a $125 million initiative supposedly aimed at improving integration of migrants and…

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Mackay & Rockhampton

I’ve been travelling for the last few days, visiting Mackay and Rockhampton in Central Queensland. Trying to cover the whole state of Queensland is a tall ask, but I try to squeeze in meetings with as many groups and people as possible when I do visit a place. The biggest issue on these visits has…

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Irony of the day

On the day the federal government overturned some of our most fundamental democratic freedoms such as (a) people being innocent until proven guilty and (b) ensuring courts determine who is imprisoned rather than governments, a Senate Committee hearing was being held in Canberra into legislation to implement the government’s new citizenship test. That’s the test…

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John Howard fails the citizenship test

The federal government has been talking up the value and importance of citizenship for some time, going so far as planning to introduce a new citizenship test to make sure migrants know Australian values and laws before they are allowed to become ‘real Aussies’. But apparently the government none the less thinks encouraging people to…

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Unemployment figures

The latest official unemployment figures show a national total of 4.2 per cent, which is reportedly the lowest level since 1974. Reports on unemployment figures inevitably bring questions about just how accurate they are, and how much underemployment is ignored. There have certainly been comments left on this blog a number of times to that…

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Testing Times

The federal government has leaked to a newspaper a sample of the questions they are allegedly planning to put on their new citizenship test. *(see clarification at end of this post) One of the lesser noticed measures in the Budget was the announcement that an extra $123 million will be spent implementing and administering the…

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