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Pauline Hanson challenges the government on citizenship reforms

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) and One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson. Source: AAP

Labor has announced it will oppose Pauline Hanson's Bill that seeks to make migrants wait eight years before they can apply for Australian citizenship.

One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has challenged the Federal Government to act on the citizenship reforms and “put their cards on the table”.

Senator Hanson introduced a private member’s Bill in the Senate last week to amend the citizenship law, proposing to make the waiting period for permanent residents for eight years before they apply for Australian citizenship.

She says the government was happy to let their citizenship bill “die” last year when it failed in the Senate. 

“At this point, any talk from the Government about immigration or citizenship reforms is nothing but hot air,” she told SBS Punjabi.

“If the Government was serious about strengthening the requirements for Australian citizenship then they would stop delaying and put their cards on the table.”

While the government hasn’t yet brought it’s revised draft citizenship law before Parliament, Ms Hanson’s Bill isn’t likely to pass the Senate with Labor and Greens already opposed to changes to the citizenship laws.

Shadow minister for Citizenship Tony Burke says Labor will oppose Ms Hanson’s Bill, which “continues the government’s attack on Australian citizenship”.

The manager of the Opposition Tony Burke delivers a speech on citizenship in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, August 14, 2017. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Shadow Minister for Citizenship, Tony Burke.
AAP

He says the proposed changes in the Bill are “bad for Australia”.

“It is bad for Australia to establish a permanent underclass of non-citizens. It is bad for Australia to continue to delay, by years, permanent residents making a pledge of commitment to Australia,” Mr Burke said in a statement.  

“When it comes to Australian citizenship Labor will oppose these changes whether they appear in the name of Senator Hanson, Mr Turnbull or Mr Dutton.”

The Federal Government announced an overhaul of the citizenship law last year in April which included increasing the general residence requirement from one year to four years (as a permanent resident) and competent English language proficiency.

Labor, Greens and NXT opposed the changes and the government’s Bill failed in the Senate in October.

The government says it’s committed to implementing the changes from July this year and will bring a revised Bill in the Parliament.

But with her Bill in the Senate, Ms Hanson says: “Until they do, One Nation will continue to do their job.”

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