'We need to listen to the alarm bells': Kristina Keneally lashes immigration wait times

Labor's spokesperson for immigration, Kristina Keneally, will use a keynote speech to warn that multiculturalism is under threat.

10/10/2019 10:10:00 AM

Labor's spokesperson for immigration, Kristina Keneally, will use a keynote speech to warn that multiculturalism is under threat.

Labor's spokesperson for immigration, Kristina Keneally, will use a keynote speech to warn that multiculturalism is under threat.

Share on TwitterBlown out wait times to become an Australian citizen have led to the largest-ever drop in people pledging their commitment to the country, Labor's spokesperson for immigration will tell a national multiculturalism conference.Senator Kristina Keneally lashed the average wait times of 410 days and the high numbers of asylum seekers entering Australia by plane as evidence that the Department of Home Affairs is"in disarray when it comes to matters of migration and asylum seekers".

US Senate intel committee sought probe of Steve Bannon Ruby Princess report vindicates Government, Peter Dutton says Shark punched during attack on surfer at Port Macquarie

"We need to listen to the alarm bells ringing – or the canary in the coalmine – to ensure that integrity, transparency and fairness are maintained in the Department of Home Affairs," Senator Keneally says.These issues are taking place, she says, as the number of people becoming applying to become an Australian citizen dropped by more than 100,000 in 2018-2019.

Senator Keneally's keynote speech, seen in advance by SBS News, will be delivered at the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia national conference in Hobart on Thursday night.READ MORE'Lives are on hold': Government pressured to address citizenship backlog

"The ongoing blowouts in citizenship application processing under the third term Morrison Government are cruel, callous and are preventing people from pledging commitment to Australia," the speech read.According to figures released by the Department of Home Affairs earlier this week in response to a request by Labor MP Julian Hill, there are more than 221,415 people currently waiting to have their citizenship applications processed.

These include close to 30,000 Indians, 27,000 British citizens and 17,500 Chinese nationals."They make up just some of the 221,000 people who have “had a go”… so why aren’t they being given a go?" Senator Kenneally said."And as all of this has happened within the Department – even more concerningly – the number of people making new citizenship applications decreased by more than 100,000 in 2018-19.

"This is the largest ever decline in citizenship applications as would-be Australians despair at having to wait more almost a year-and-a-half to become citizens."In response to the claims made in the speech, Immigration Minister David Coleman told SBS News he would"not be taking advice from Labor and Senator Keneally on managing our immigration and citizenship programs".

Immigration Minister David Coleman.AAP"Labor oversaw the most significant public policy failure in Australia’s post-war history when they allowed 50,000 people to arrive by boat - 8000 children were forcibly placed in detention, 17 detention centres were opened and 1200 people lost their lives," he said in a statement.

Miley gets naked for candid Liam Hemsworth kiss-off Protesters march on Brisbane hotel where refugees and asylum seekers are being detained 'Nonsensical': Bayside council considers ban on BBQs, backyard fires

There was also a significant increase in the number of citizenship application approvals in the 2018-19 year, with 127,674 granted citizenship up from 80,649 the previous year, according to Department of Home Affairs data. Senator Kenneally will also allege that 90 per cent of asylum seekers that have arrived in Australia by plane over the past five years are"not legitimate refugees" and are"being trafficked to Australia for the explicit purpose of being exploited".

"How can we talk about having a fair go in this country when the fruit we put in our children’s lunchboxes has been picked by a 19-year-old trafficked by people smugglers who is being paid $4 an hour and treated like a slave?" she will ask. 

"The truth is the Government has no idea how many aeroplane arrivals may have been critically injured or even died because of exploitation that is taking place."Since 2015,more than 95,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by plane. The number of asylum claims from air arrivals dropped to 24,520 people in 2018-19, down from 27,884 people in the previous year. However, this figure was up from 18,267 people in 2016-17.

Mr Coleman hit back at Senator Keneally's claims of exploitation, accusing Labor of"decimating" the Fair Work Ombudsman's resources."We have legislated to increase penalties for worker exploitation by up to ten-fold, increased the powers of the Fair Work Ombudsman to enforce the law, and increased their resources by over $50 million and 60 new staff," he said.

In her speech, Senator Keneally described her own experience of arriving in Australia as a migrant in 1994 on a skilled visa."I applied for permanent residency through the old point system and back then it was pretty straightforward," she said.

"I filled out a few forms, documented my entire life, wrote a cheque for $450, and sent it off to the Embassy in Washington, DC."She warned that multiculturalism - which she described as"one of Australia’s greatest strengths" - was now under threat, citing reports tracking incidents of race-based discrimination.

Vic records another 264 'mystery cases' | Sky News Australia If New Zealand failed, can any country eliminate coronavirus? Shoppers crowd on busy Melbourne strip

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has changed his tune on the Paris climate agreement.AAPThe Senator also took aim at former Prime Minister Tony Abbott for appearing at a Hungarian population summit, where he warned Europe against . "From these covert undercurrents – we are facing overt displays of nationalistic sentiment," she said.

Earlier on Thursday, Labor's spokesperson for multiculturalism Andrew Giles called for the national census should be updated to include more questions on race and ethnicity to better inform multicultural policy. Stay up to date with SBS NEWS Read more: SBS News »

Keep it up, the more you keep this lunatic in the spotlight the more likely the LNP will get a 4th, 5th, ..., nth term. BrettMasonNews Multiculturalism *is the threat. Mouthpeace and hypocrit Accept a multi national population but support a united mono culture. Under threat all right just look at London

Is that bad news? Narry a more underwhelming public servant you will ever find. She’s not anyone’s girl... Multiculturalism is garbage the way it’s being used in Australia is racist and unfair! Good! Multiculturalism doesn't work, only multiracial societies will succeed in the long run. I'm glad she is not being taken seriously.

Nah, it's Kristina's political resurrection that's under threat, Kenneally will say, or do, anything to protect her taxpayer funded pay check. endindefinitemandatorydetention orSTFU Can't wait for the next KK disaster she is the gift that keeps giving. What a clown. rabidgreenlunaticleftcircus KK still one of the government’s greatest assets. A deadset clown.

How about a stern letter! Strewth. Do something. She talks a lot of utter bulltish. davidmatheson27 True, I don’t think we have enough Pakistani Uber drivers in Hobart yet - at least ones that can read a map Multiculturalism success is a myth, it’s the human condition to discriminate and once there are clashes of values the trouble begins.

The bus captain on the bus that crashed? Good - it hasn’t worked has it? Hilarious. All multiculturalism has done is create isolated communities and from some - terrorists. There is nothing wring with being proud of your history/culture but if you move to Australia only to try and replicate where you left why come?

Elites aren't interested in 'culture' - they want the largest pool of labour possible to ensure the masses are desperate for work, hyper-competing against each other and will accept crappy pay and conditions. Multiculturalism is a failed experiment. Just look at Europe. Vikkik88 Bravo. She’ll be great and we have strength in our diverse population! Gambate!!

Too much of a bad thing isn't great for most if us. When did we vote for this to progress ? Should be a public vote on it and KK should keep well out of it. Why are labor on the immigration band wagon all of a sudden Western liberals never did anything bad, so why can't i get to sleep over all those screaming Tutsi women and children.

Gotta get your voters somehow hey? I don’t even know what country I’m in any more. Australia has changed for the worse forever and I’m not happy. 👎 Let’s hope so..... As it should be . It will never work in the long run . Pffft ok Kristina whatever - she just wants to import future Labor voters quicker Multiculturalism doesn’t work. Diversity =/= Strength Unity = Strength DefundSBS

Would rather not listen to KKeneally What sickness is it she has?

The new 'boat people'? How Labor's focus on air arrivals only hints at new immigration challengeLabor's Kristina Keneally says people smugglers are changing their business model from boats to plans, with about 80 people a day seeking asylum at Australian airports.

'People need to listen to their instincts': Background checks spark multiple interventionsBackground checks on people suspected of having a history of domestic violence introduced in South Australia last year are already helping to save lives, a domestic violence support service says. 'Because while they may not have had an offence against them, they may be able to link that that person had those tendencies, but just hasn't been convicted yet.' WUT! Precrime? Idk... Can see both sides of this. My ex was an abusive shit, and with more publicity about DV, I guess it pays to know what u might be getting into. It is far better to be alone, than to be with someone who abuses you. My two cents... :-/ Wow Australia has so many perpetrators, this scheme needs to be funded forever and it should include interstate domestic violence perpetrators.

Asylum seeker processing wait time blows out to two yearsThe migration system is struggling to deal with a surge in claims from people who arrive by air and seek asylum, with wait times creating incentives for more arrivals.

Transgender activist lashes Scott Morrison over 'gender whisperers' commentHeadspace's new ambassador has called on the PM to change his tone on LGBTIQ issues, saying he is damaging his effort to reduce the nation's suicide rate. Dana_Adele Who listens to anyone with activist in their descriptions? Dana_Adele Is the media promoting trans anxiety among kids? Dana_Adele ScoMo is an arrogant man who allows his own personal prejudices based on his crack pot religious beliefs, to influence his views on such matters. He is most definitely the wrong man for the job.

High Court told to sound final bell on PellVictoria's prosecutors have urged Australia's highest court not to intervene in the case of George Pell. For who the Pell tolls? Enough the big sook. NO Appeal CatholicChurch Law media EntertainmentNews Journalists psychic News magazine newscomauHQ abcnews MomentsAU 9NewsAUS australian SkyNewsAust SBSNews NBCNews guardiannews 10NewsFirstQLD Channel7 bauermedia DailyMailAU 9NewsAUS CNN Hope1032

China slams Apple's decision to allow police tracking app for Hong Kong protestersChinese media lashes out at Apple Inc over an app that tracks the movement of police around Hong Kong. It is pointless blocking apps that have simple functionality that can be webpage based. China is just a big stupid bully. But it's ok for China to spy on all its citizen. Cry me a fucking river Good job Apple 👍 HongKongProtesters