Concerns about proposed citizenship laws

JAN Frikken is a proud Australian and loves the concept of a fair go for all.

However, Mrs Frikken just cannot understand why changes need to made to the nation’s citizenship laws because she thinks the current system is working.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced  new arrivals must prize “Australian values” and prove their commitment to the nation.

Other points of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement were: migrants with a history of family violence, organised crime could be banned, English language test will contain more components and permanent residents' eligibility for citizenship application will increase to four years.

Mrs Frikken still questions why the system needs changing?

“I then was worried about the segregation language that was being used by both the PM and the Minister and the frequency of the words ‘them’ and ‘Australian’ that was used.”

She questions the English testing component of the Prime Minister’s announcement.

“I can’t see how someone who speaks better English would be more Australian and having more Australian values than those who speak limited English. I certainly can’t see that a tougher English test will demonstrate a value of someone,” she said

“They (new arrivals) love this country and want to contribute in any way they can. They call Australia home, they follow the rule of law like any decent citizen would do anywhere in this world.”

She said many people had successful lives and spoke limited English.

She came to Australia many years ago on a provisional visa (best known as temporary visa) then became a permanent resident and then an Australian citizen - a proud day.

Jan's passionate take on citizenship

“Like many migrants and refugees, since from the day I set foot in Australia, I have always been working, paying tax, following the rule of law and contributing everything I could to Australia - a place I call home,” she said.

“I will never forget my roots and background and I never feel that I am any less Australian than the ‘real Australian’.”

Mrs Frikken both professionally and now as a volunteer with the Shoalhaven Multicultural Group  has vast experience in this area.

“I am certainly not new in the field because and I have long experience in working with both migrants, refugees and government departments both state and federal,” she said.

“I have seen changes in policy and planning over the years. I doubt very much if changes in residency requirement prior to making application and tougher citizenship test will reflect people’s values and neither will make any difference to Australia.”

Jan’s takes on the announcement 

“I don’t see that by increasing longer residency requirement will reflect the change in people’s values or make people become ‘more Australian’ and ‘having more Australian values’. 

“Speaking, reading and writing English well are not the fundamentals of living in Australia but ability to communicate is more important and it is certainly easier to communicate in the modern world.”

“It is interesting to see that people who say ‘they must be able to speak English so that they have Australian values’ are usually people who do not speak any other language beside English.”

“With my experience of having met so many people, some speaking English fluently prior to coming to Australia, some speaking no English at all, some speaking broken English and I have seen and been part of the development of their ability in to speak English  for over a decade, they are no different to the rest of ‘real Australian’ at all.”

“I have a strong belief that if you allow ‘real Australians’ to take English test, there will be so many failing the test and I am taking only spelling here.”

“The majority of migrants and refugees are not coming from the stone age, they are and have always be part of the community and society like many ‘real Australians’ but they may have different interests and priorities.”

“There are so many ways that people have already participate and contribute to the Australian community, why make a fuss of putting the practice into the theory for the sake of trying to make it harder for those who do not have perfect English.”

“I do not believe by having tougher citizenship test will help the government selecting ‘the most appropriate person to be a citizen of Australia’.”

“The PM talked about ‘Australian value’ which are respect for women, mutual respect, freedom, equal right of man and woman, rule of law and fair go, that is not Australian value, that is the values of any decent human being regardless who they are and where they come from, not only in Australia.”

“We accept and follow the rule of law and the principle of Australian society. We send our children to schools, it is unacceptable for us to hurt someone let alone women and children. Each of us contributing and participating to the community in our own way and our own personal circumstances.” 

“They (new arrivals) all wholeheartedly want to work and live permanently in Australia, working hard and paying tax like many of us.”