FECCA responds to proposed changes to Australian citizenship laws
In response to today’s announcement on proposed changes to Australian Citizenship laws FECCA calls on all political leaders to exercise caution and ensure that any changes to the citizenship process are based on robust empirical evidence and not political considerations.
Mr Joe Caputo, Chair of FECCA said: “Australia is a country of immigration. Migration is central to Australia’s continuing economic, intellectual and social growth and achievement.”
“Migration brings new skills, knowledge and experience to Australia and by contributing to the diversity of our communities migrants help to build a productive and culturally rich Australian society,” he said.
FECCA recognises the importance of citizenship policy to achieving and maintaining social cohesion in the Australian community.
“For migrants to Australia, the granting of Australian citizenship is symbolic of acceptance into the Australian community. It is cherished by all in Australia’s migrant communities,” said Mr Caputo.
Mr Caputo reiterated FECCA’s position on citizenship. “FECCA has always advocated for a pathway to citizenship that emphasises civics and citizenship education.”
“The journey to Australian citizenship should be positive, welcoming and encouraging. This will ensure that migrants are empowered to make the most of the opportunities presented by becoming an Australian citizen and to maximise their social and economic contribution,” he said.
Mr Caputo emphasised: “Australia’s values, both civic and cultural values, are built on the shared understandings of generations of migrants. The migration experience forms the bedrock of this nation’s thriving and productive multicultural society.”
“FECCA also acknowledges the centrality of Australia’s First Peoples in defining Australian culture and values,” he said.
FECCA is concerned about any changes to the citizenship process that might unfairly target some of Australia’s most vulnerable arrivals, such as refugees, through punitive tests rather than education and support.
FECCA also opposes the extension of the time period required between the granting of permanent residency and the opportunity to apply for citizenship.
“This threatens social cohesion, placing additional pressures on migrants and delaying their access to the tools and resources that will foster their full participation in the Australian community,” said Mr Caputo.
FECCA is the peak national body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.
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18C Proposed changes defeated in Senate
After a contentious debate on Thursday night 30th of March, 2017 in the Senate at the Parliament House, Canberra, proposed changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was rejected by the House meaning the legislation will remain as it is.
The Government had wanted to replace the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act with the term “harass”.
The Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) applauds all Senate members who voted against the proposed changes and will continue to advocate against its repeal made in the future. We strongly believe in people’s right to express themselves freely but definitely do not condone using that freedom to insult, offend or humiliate minority community members” said Miriam Cocking, Chairperson of MCCSA.
We also thank all our communities for their support over the past few months in letting their Federal members know of their concerns and how their support contributed to this outcome.
Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act
On the 21st March 2017, International Harmony Day the Coalition party room in Canberra has backed substantial changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. They agreed to retain the offence of “intimidate” on the basis of race, but replace the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” with “harass”.
This is a very sad day indeed that we as a truly successful multicultural community are considering changes to the Racial Discrimination Act which currently effectively protects against hate speech. On behalf of all our Communities the Multicultural Communities Council of SA hopes that sense will prevail when it is put to the vote and that it will not be passed by Government.”
Miriam Cocking, Chairperson
Join MCCSA celebrate Harmony Day in the City
Australian Government’s Multicultural Statement
“Multicultural Australia – united, strong, successful”
Multicultural Australia – united, strong, successful is the Government’s public statement recommitting to multicultural Australia; setting both priorities and strategic directions for the coming years.
The Australian Government’s Multicultural Statement is now available.