Morrison harks to 'integration'
July 18, 2013
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)
The man who plans to be Australia's next immigration minister has re-embraced the 1970s term ''integration'', raised the prospect of a series of English-test ''barriers'' to attaining citizenship, and vowed asylum boats would be turned back without seeking Indonesia's agreement.
On the day after another boat tragedy claimed four lives, Scott Morrison delivered a speech to a Muslim-founded inter-faith group and insisted Australia would make its own decisions about when to turn back boats. ''It can be done and under a Coalition government it will be done,'' the opposition immigration spokesman said.
Mr Morrison said the English language and jobs for immigrants, not festivals, were the keys to ensuring Australia's prosperity and unity. Australia needed more than a one-off snapshot of immigrants' English proficiency and follow-up tests could ensure language skills did not remain static.
With a big shift from permanent immigration to temporary visas, Mr Morrison said: ''There is a great opportunity to have a series of barriers, if you like - a temporary entry [test], a permanent residence and potentially even citizenship, if people want to have that conversation.'' When prompted, he would not not commit to making English a precondition for citizenship.
Mr Morrison was asked about his celebration of the word ''integration''. ''Whatever name you want to give to the various policies of the past 30 years, I agree with the purpose of them and that is to get Australians to live together and not be separated by language or religion or culture but to actually find the middle ground where we live together as Australians.'' He denied insulting Indonesia by suggesting the country's Foreign Minister was stood over by his Australian counterpart, Bob Carr, to harden Jakarta's line against the policy to turn back boats.