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Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment


When we talk about national security, I defer
to no-one in this chamber. I have spent the last 35 years of my life
immersed in the security affairs of this nation. Nothing is more important to me than the safety
of our people and our contribution, as good international citizens, to the safety of the
world. In that context, I served 20 years in the
Army and 10 years in the Reserves. When I was in the Army, I deployed to places
like Somalia, Bosnia and Timor. I spent a year in Iraq. In government, I had responsibility for the
transition of our operations in Afghanistan and spent a lot of time there. I have spent a great deal of my life immersed
in the issues of internal conflict, civil war, counter-insurgency and terrorism. Above all, the one lesson I learnt from that
experience is the importance of building social cohesion as the means to achieving national
security. The genius of Australia has been in the success
of our multiculturalism and how we have constructed that. So what is broken that the government is trying
to fix? They always talk about our multicultural society
as being a shining light to the world. And we have reiterated time and again the
comments of David Irvine, the former Director-General of ASIO, who was at pains to point out that,
for example, our Muslim community is the first line of defence against terrorism and has
been of great assistance in that effort. We have managed to achieve that by being inclusive,
by opening our hearts and our arms to citizens of nations other than ours and by making something
of that process. I was just at a citizenship ceremony a couple
of weeks ago, and to watch the faces of those people who voluntarily entered into that process
of wanting to become Australian and the effect of that process itself in building their investment
in this enterprise of ours—this Australia. To me, the Australian Citizenship Legislation
Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures)
Bill 2017 does the opposite. This attempt to change the citizenship process
in this country is about exclusion and not inclusion.

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