There are two specific recent developments which I consider “unfair” and I feel that the affected have simply been run over by the current regime simply because they “don’t have voting rights” and such unfair changes may assist win some votes.
I have even defended the reforms around “work permits” where the current 457 subclass visa is replaced by “improved” work permit visas around short, medium and long term skill shortages. However, not all that has been rolled out by the Turnbull government is “fair”.
Unfair proposed change #1 pertains to “citizenship reforms”:
The Federal Government has announced sweeping changes to the nation’s citizenship laws, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declaring that new arrivals must prize “Australian values” and prove their commitment to the nation. They will also need to re-take IELTS type test (yes) to re-prove their English skills.
- The proposed new test on “Australian values” is not unfair.
Migrants who become permanent residents will also have to wait four years before they can apply for citizenship — instead of the at least one-year wait at the moment.
- This is unfair. There are many who have lived in Australia as law abiding residents (on one of the temporary visas such a student visa or work permit) for years prior to becoming a permanent resident. Asking them to wait for another four years is just ridiculous. Currently the time in Australia counted from the time one is here on any of the visas.
Unfair proposed change #2 pertains to “denying “tax paying” PR and Kiwis” subsidised education in Universities.
Eighteen-year-old Matilda Boyce was the dux of her high school.
The bright New Zealander is enjoying her first year studying chemistry, geology and Japanese at the University of Western Australia.
But news of the Turnbull government’s new university reforms came as a shock to Ms Boyce’s family.
Her course costs $9,000 per year under the current system, but would cost $36,000 per year under Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s proposal.
The new system, if changes pass the senate, will see New Zealand citizens and permanent residents pay full international student prices for Australian degrees.
The example sited by SBS may not be fully accurate since those who are current enrolled may not experience the change, the point however remains. See the details of the proposed “University Reforms” on this link. Lost amongst the words is a section that details the change and sugar-coats it by indicating that those unable to pay can access a loan scheme.
From 1 January 2018, subsidies for most Australian permanent residents and most New Zealand (NZ) citizens enrolling in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) will be withdrawn, making them fee-paying students.
- This is very unfair. Till date, all PRs and NZ citizens being “tax payers” were included in the Common Supported Places (CSP) which is the subsidy by the “tax payers”. Thus a $36000 fee course was around $9000 for PRs and NZ citizens. They were not eligible for HECS and that was fine too.
Interestingly while there are online petitions to pursue the senate from passing the said citizenship reform around the residency requirement, there is no noise on the second point where the PR will be made to pay the full fees.
I was shocked to notice that not many were aware of this proposed change. The wordings in the policy document too is very clever and not everything becomes apparent immediately. The focus is more on the offer of education loan than on the fact that the full subsidy is being taken off despite their tax going towards subsidising the education of the citizens.
While at this point, I wanted to share that not all permanent residents choose to take up citizenship for various reasons. The prime being that the country of origin may not be offering dual citizenship such as in my case. Thus, to be able to retain the citizenship of the first country for family and business reasons, one may choose to stay as PR of Australia. Till date this was not an issue as the only real disadvantage of not taking the citizenship was inability to vote or contest for a public office. The children still availed education privileges like citizens.
As I said earlier: Both the PR and Kiwis residing in Australia are not voters and thus are being run over by these changes to please certain voters. It is all politics.
Will they now take “non-voters” off the medicare too?