THE HON ALAN TUDGE MP
MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

MEDIA RELEASE

9 March 2018

Claims by the Labor Party that the Federal Government would require ‘university’ level English as part of proposed new language standards are deliberately false and wrong.

The Government believes that modest English comprehension is fundamental to participate fully in our community and ensure social cohesion.

This is not ‘university level’ English, as Labor misleadingly claims. Rather, it is conversational English whereby many mistakes will still be made.

Consequently, the Government has suggested that people reach a modest ‘Level 5’ standard of English before becoming a citizen.

The definition of Level 5 English, according to the International English Language Testing System, is a person who:

“…has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes.”

It is important to note that the Government’s proposals:

  • Would not impact existing citizens;
  • Would not apply retrospectively;
  • Would not apply to people above the age of 60 or below the age of 16.  There are also exemptions for those with learning difficulties; and
  • Funding is available for people to do English language courses.

The Government wants every new citizen to thrive in Australia.

We want to ensure that we maintain our successful multicultural community. To do this, a modest level of English is important.

 

For further information: Minister’s office on 02 6277 7770