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Migrants rejoice as citizenship bill is struck down

A family receiving their Australian citizenship certificate. Source: DIBP website

Migrants heave a sigh of relief as the citizenship bill was struck down - as announced by Tony Burke in Parliament this afternoon.

The controversial citizenship bill was struck down on Wednesday.

The immigration minister Peter Dutton had until this evening to bring the bill for debate in the Senate. 

But that did not happen.  

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia Tony Burke pre-empted the news with an announcement in the House of Representatives in the early afternoon, advising that “with the conclusion of government business in the Senate a few minutes ago, it means that the government’s citizenship bill will today be struck from the notice paper of the Senate and will no longer be before the parliament."

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia Tony Burke said, “This is a great victory for every person who wants to pledge allegiance to this country and make a commitment to Australia."

“The delay where some people would wait more than a decade before they made a pledge to Australia, has been rejected. The demand for university-level English has been rejected.

“I would urge those, celebrating this moment, who were involved in the campaign all around Australia, this government will try again and if under current law, you are able to apply now, I would recommend you to do so.

“And I recommend to the Department of Immigration those applications which are waiting, should now be processed.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed to ABC News that applications received after April 20 would be processed under existing laws. 


Melbourne-based Aneesh Benzi has been on tenterhooks since Tuesday. 

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was scheduled to come before the Senate on Tuesday which later rolled over to Wednesday.

Youth and family worker Benzi, who lives with his wife and child in Melbourne, was nervous and had been keeping a close eye on what was going on in the parliament.

“Every 30 mins, I was checking if there is any update in relation to citizenship bill and I rang my wife to check the news,” he told SBS Hindi.

Aneesh Benzi

Migrants across Australia are celebrating the outcome.

"I feel relaxed. It is an amazing feeling," Mihir Dave waiting to apply for citizenship told SBS Hindi

Sydney-based lawyer Atul Vidhata said he was very very relieved.

"I am very relieved. As are all those no doubt affected. We're also keeping an eye on future developments in the aftermath. Particularly if the department of Immigration will finally begin processing applications that they've received," he said. 

Labor has also demanded that the immigration department start processing citizenship applications immediately. 

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