Australia: Rudd to review citizenship policy

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Dec 13 13:45:26 UTC 2006

Rudd to review citizenship policy
December 12, 2006 - 8:14AM

Opposition leader Kevin Rudd says Labor will take a fresh look at its
approach to citizenship in the lead-up to the federal election. Former
Labor leader Kim Beazley released a plan to overhaul citizenship and
multicultural policy two weeks ago, before he was dumped by the caucus.
Now Prime Minister John Howard has announced migrants wanting to become
Australian citizens will need to sit new English exams and pass
multiple-choice tests on Australian society. Visiting the north Queensland
city of Townsville, Mr Rudd said Labor would review its policy in the
light of the government's policy change.

"I think it probably wasn't properly considered at the time - I think
that's true," Mr Rudd said. "And I think we should put that behind us and
look forward to how we deal properly with the proposal the Prime Minister
has put on the table. "The key thing is whether this works." Mr Rudd said
Labor had written to the government seeking details about the proposed new
English test and how it planned to improve the teaching of language
skills. He said the government had ripped $10 million out of language
skills programs in the last budget. Mr Rudd said he had no problem with
promoting "mateship", but wanted to know what Mr Howard had in mind when
he referred to the term.

"Mateship is looking after people other than yourself," Mr Rudd said. "I
know that the set of values also includes compassion. "When I think of the
Howard government and compassion I usually think of two different


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