Unfair Citizenship Legislation Back on the Agenda
VisAustralia is concerned with the possible abuse of an on-line survey created by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee asking Australians whether they support Pauline Hanson’s proposed Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.
The Committee has created the survey through SurveyMonkey, an online platform that allows anyone to run on-line surveys. The survey is located at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GKXLPS6
The survey asks one question: “Do you support the provisions of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) bill 2018?”
The main difference between that Bill and Hanson’s version is that Hanson’s version increases the qualifying period of residence in Australia to apply for citizenship from 4 years as a permanent resident to 8 years as a permanent resident.
If passed, the proposed changes will be retrospective, meaning it will affect all permanent residents and not just those granted permanent residence after the date of the commencement of the legislation.
VisAustralia is concerned the SurveyMonkey poll requires respondents to enter only a name and an email address to vote. There is no requirement for this information to be genuine, for the respondents to be in Australia or have any connection with Australia, and there is no restriction on how many times a person can respond.
VisAustralia is concerned the creation of the poll is haphazard and could be open to abuse.
Nicholas Houston, the Director of VisAustralia, said:
“Given the very real and negative implications the legislation could have on people already living in Australia as permanent residents, to conduct a survey of this nature is very odd in that the survey could be manipulated and may not reflect the correct sentiment of the Australians towards the issue”.
Even though the result of the poll is not binding on the Committee or the Parliament, it will be contained in the Committee’s report on the Bill to be tabled in December this year.