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MEDIA STATEMENT: STATEMENT ON CITIZENSHIP DAY

STATEMENT ON CITIZENSHIP DAY

Today, 17th September, marks Australia’s 20th Citizenship Day.

Australian citizenship is professed as the common bond which unites us all.

For the 44,000 Australians stranded overseas (and a further a million or so Australians living overseas who could be similarly trapped should they wish to return) by the travel caps placed on airlines flying into their country of citizenship, this day will be painful.

For the millions of Australians locked within Australia by the blanket ban preventing Australians travelling outside of Australia to see family based overseas, this day will be painful.

For the millions locked within their states who are unable to travel around their own country, see their family, travel for work, travel to see friends, or even go to this year’s AFL and NRL grand finals, this day will be painful.

The onus on a citizenry united should not be on the states. State Premiers have been burdened with making difficult decisions for their states when the Federal leadership should have stepped in. These Premiers, sincerely concerned for the well-being of their residents, have been forced to assert a quasi-state citizenship, inadvertently undermining our national citizenship.

I have said from the beginning of this pandemic that special, purpose-built quarantine stations around the country should have been prioritised by the federal government (under whose remit this would fall). We could have brought back stranded Australians safely, and allowed Australians to visit family abroad, in a COVID-safe manner.

On this day, in our 20th year celebrating our Australian citizenship, we resemble more the colonies pre-Federation than we do a united, bonded Australia.

Our Australian citizenship must mean something. It is time for our Parliament to be truly representative and make our Parliament work for people – for all Australian citizens wherever they live, whether outside Australia or wherever they live within it.

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  • Eli Sturgess
    published this page in Media 2021-09-17 09:49:18 +1000