THE arguments against strengthening our citizenship laws are backfiring badly.
Two submissions to the Senate’s inquiry into the proposed amendments highlight the problems of maintaining the fiction of a successful multicultural society when patently all cultures are not equal.
Under the spotlight are projected changes relating to such issues as automatic acquisition of citizenship, permanent residency requirements and English language proficiency; the definitions of “spouse” and “de facto” partner and various other extended family relationships; the good character requirements; the bar on approval for citizenship where there are related criminal offences; revocation of citizenship by descent and aspects of ministerial power.
According to submissions received by the Senate committee, Muslims and some people of Middle Eastern origin feel the proposed changes will deal “a significant blow’’ to Australia’s multiculturalism.
One submission from a group of Muslim academics argues that the changes will reinforce the message “that migrant cultures are not compatible with the values that govern Australia”.
Waving the victimhood card, the newly formed Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies group argues that despite the cultural and economic contribution of migrants to Australia, they get the blame when things sour.
“Many Australian political leaders and media reports associate migrants (and the communities they form) with ills affecting society. This is particularly true of Muslims following terror attacks,” their submission says, according to The Australian newspaper.
Curiously, the group singles out what it calls last year’s “triumphalist pronouncements” by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Australia is the “most successful and harmonious multicultural nation in the world”.
It says his words were met “with considerable cynicism…