Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Media release

Labor's citizenship smokescreen

Labor's claims that the Citizenship legislation currently before the Parliament will require applicants to have a "university" level of English language skills is nothing more than a smokescreen.

Two months ago Bill Shorten admitted that requiring aspiring Australians to have reasonable English language skills was "fair enough".

But then the chorus of Labor's Left made it clear they would not accept any changes to Australia's citizenship requirements.

Mr Shorten is a weak and spineless leader who has again surrendered to the Left and has then had to find a way to oppose this important legislation to update Australia's citizenship requirements.

The "university" level English claim is a red herring.

The Citizenship legislation requires those seeking Australian citizenship to be "competent" in English.

Competent equates to Level 6 of the International English Language Testing System.

There are two streams to IELTS – Academic and General Training.

Contrary to Labor's false claims, the IELTS Academic test is not required for migration or citizenship purposes.

The General Training test is accepted.

Level 6 of the General stream focuses on "basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts".

The Coalition makes no apology for asking aspiring citizens to develop English language skills – it is in their own best interests and the interests of the cohesion and prosperity of our nation.

Labor must explain why it opposes legislation that most Australians would consider perfectly reasonable.

Tony Burke must explain why he now opposes something he called for more than a decade ago.

Note – IELTS testing streams.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.

Guidance for educational institutions

The table below gives guidance on acceptable IELTS band score requirements for different programmes. However, it should be noted that many diverse variables can affect student performance, of which language ability is but one.

Band Score Linguistically demanding academic courses Linguistically less demanding academic courses Linguistically demanding training courses Linguistically less demanding training courses
7.5 – 9 Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
7.0 Probably acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
6.5 English study needed Probably acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
6.0 English study needed English study needed Probably acceptable Acceptable