MEDIA RELEASE: Dutton wrong on English requirements
Mr Dutton’s claim today that his citizenship changes don’t require university-level English is wrong. Clearly he has no idea what’s in his own legislation.
For months Peter Dutton was unaware of exactly what his position would be on the citizenship changes. Now he has finally put them in writing, he is still unaware of what it means.
Up until his media release today, at no stage has Mr Dutton specified whether the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) level 6 would be through academic or general training.
Everyone takes the same listening and speaking tests. The reading and writing tests differ in the specifics of their content and focus, depending on whether you are taking the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. However the level of English required to achieve a level 6 is similar.
The content may be different but the level is comparable. Where the content in one stream is easier, the scoring system is made harder to balance the level. That’s because the general test components are marked harder.
In his media release, Peter Dutton completely misrepresented what level 6 of the general stream requires. His media release pretends to quote IELTS standards saying level 6 focuses on “basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts”. But this is an overall description of IELTS general training. It is not a description of what level 6 requires.
The IELTS website says this of those who achieve level 6:
They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Peter Dutton has either been incompetent or deceptive. There is a chance he may be both.
Attached is a list of a number of the universities in Australia that demand this standard of English for admission.
There is absolutely no doubt that a very large number of Australians throughout their entire lives will never reach IELTS level 6. Labor believes in supporting new citizens to have conversational level English. The existing test already does that.
If the Government is successful in introducing this legislation in Australia, they will be establishing a new group of permanent residents who are never invited to become citizens, and who are never invited to pledge allegiance to Australia. That’s a fundamental difference for them and a fundamental difference in what sort of nation we choose to be.
Being an Australian should be about your values and your commitment to your country – not how fancy your English skills are.
WEDNESDAY, 21 JUNE 2017
THE HON TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON