TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH
WEDNESDAY, 21 June 2017
SUBJECTS: Changes to English language requirements in Citizenship test
GARETH PARKER: My guest every couple of weeks is the Labor Member for Perth Tim Hammond who joins me on the phone from Canberra, G’day Tim.
TIM HAMMOND MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Good morning Gareth. I’ve just ducked out of the chamber and if I’m not back in there in four and half minutes I’ll be in strife.
PARKER: We’ll keep it brief. We’ve been talking about this citizenship test specifically the English language requirements. Why is the Labor party so opposed to this?
HAMMOND: It’s an overreach, it’s a complete overreach and it’s a pretty unedifying attempt at distracting us from what is really going on over here at the moment Gareth. Look, in Highgate I used to live across the road from a beautiful old fellow whose name is Giuseppe who had worked his guts out for his entire adult life, admittedly, his English isn’t great but I tell you what you should see his verge, it is overflowing with corn and vegetables. And if you had of put Giuseppe through a level six university grade English language test he wouldn’t have been able to get into this country. What sort of country are we if we are going to turn our back on those Australians who have a conversational level of English but not a university grade English; is that really the Australia we want to be?
PARKER: Well, we just went through it, we just went through what band five and band six are on the program. I explained the difference criteria to the listeners, we also played different bits of speech and I got to say Tim, my looking at it, it doesn’t seem like a massive change. I know the Labor party’s line is university level English but it doesn’t look like a huge change to me.
HAMMOND: We have got a requirement in this country, as matters currently stand Gareth, requiring a conversational level of English which is really what this country should be about. The minute we start ratcheting up these requirements and make no mistake there is an attempt here from the federal Government to try and link those requirements to some sort of discussion about national security. We have a conversational level that is acceptable in our community and it is something we should back in, which is what the federal Labor party did unanimously the other day.
PARKER: I agree with you on that point and for the same reason I say to you it’s not a huge change makes me think that some of the claims of the Government about how it is going to makeus all safer I think are a bit over blown too. I don’t think it’s going to make that much difference.
HAMMOND: Gareth, this is precisely why what I would really like to be doing in parliament over here representing people in Western Australia is talking about issues like education, like schools, like the economy, and even Tim Tams for that matter which is something I was very keen to discuss with you in relation to consumer labelling but if I’m not back in the chamber shortly I’ll be in big strife.
PARKER: Thank you Tim
HAMMOND: Great to speak to you again