Labor MPs prioritise support for migrant communities in inaugural ‘multicultural statement’

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Labor released their inaugural multicultural statement yesterday, criticising the current government’s lack of support for migrant communities in the 2020 federal budget.

The statement draws up a series of alleged failures by the government to effectively respond to the concerns of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

“This statement recognises that while we are a proudly multicultural country … there is more to be done,” Labor’s multicultural affairs spokesperson Andrew Giles said.

AAP: Daniel Munoz

Referencing the 2020 federal budget, the Multicultural Statement says the government missed a chance to invest in and improve social and economic outcomes for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“It shows us how under the Morrison government multicultural communities and new migrants are being left behind and too many Australians are being held back,” Mr Giles said.

“We have a real challenge here to make sure that everything we do builds a society that belongs and which everyone can fully participate and reach their potential.”

READ MORE: Migrants to Australia required to learn English to be granted a permanent visa

Receiving criticism earlier this year, the Statement also references the proposed English language test for partner visas.

Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the change to the visa requirement comes after a rise in the number of people not being able to speak English well or at all in the past decade.

“From late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will be required to have functional level English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English,” Mr Tudge said.

Alan Tudge says the new requirement is in part so migrants can enjoy a better life in Australia. Photo: ABC News/Tamara Penniket.

Labor accuses the new proposal of being a way of “singling out” people from non-English speaking backgrounds, risking “increasing feelings of isolation”.

“Australians and their partners, husbands, or wives, can’t put down roots, get jobs, buy homes or build communities in Australia because of the Morrison Government’s go-slow approach to partner visa processing,’ the Multicultural Statement says.

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