Xenophon group won’t support Greens, Labor push to strike-off citizenship reforms

NXT plans to vote against the citizenship crackdown when it comes to a vote in the Senate unless fundamental aspects of the bill are changed.


But SBS World News understands that the party will not take the extra step of voting to get rid of the bill from the Senate altogether.

Greens senator Nick McKim said removing the bill would help “thousands of people whose lives are on hold move on”. The controversial reforms would introduce a tougher English language test for would-be citizens, and lengthen the waiting time on permanent residency to four years.

Without the NXT votes, the motion will fall short, despite having the support of the Opposition.

“Labor has for months now been calling on the government to withdraw the bill. This resolution would do that,” Labor’s citizenship spokesman Tony Burke told SBS World News.

The Greens will move to strike the Citizenship bill from the Senate notice paper so thousands of people whose lives are on hold can move on. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/MUmXPnyPpl

— Nick McKim (@NickMcKim) September 12, 2017

The Nick Xenophon Team has said it will not support the citizenship reforms in their current form. It is opposed to the tougher English test.

“There needs to be a substantial rewriting of it,” Senator Xenophon told reporters last week. “We’ll continue to talk to the government.”

A government-chaired Senate inquiry into the changes last week recommended that the English testing level was too difficult. The language test “should not be so high as to disqualify from citizenship many Australians who, in the past, and with a more basic competency in the English language, have proven to be valuable members of the Australian community,” it read. 

The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government’s negotiations with the crossbench would continue.

Mr Dutton told Parliament on Tuesday that the government remains “absolutely determined to get these laws through”.

“This government will make sensible changes around citizenship laws so that it can support the vast majority of people who would do the right thing,” he told the chamber. 

“But we want to knock out those people who do not support Australian laws and who do not abide by the Australian way of life and integrate into the Australian community.”

Every Senator has the power to move a bill be struck from the notice paper. 

The Greens said they were frustrated the bill had been on the notice paper since last week, and was announced in April, but is yet to be debated by the Senate.