WATCH: The Govt’s Big Citizenship Shake-Up Lands A Shellacking On ‘Q&A’

“Shouldn’t you be giving hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding immigrants like us a fair go?”

That was the question posed by a British migrant to Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on last night’s Q&A, in regards to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that Australia will be shaking our citizenship requirements right the hell up.  

ICYMI, the proposals have been questioned across the board. Prospective citizens, like last night’s questioner, are worried they may have to wait even longer – years longer, in some cases – to take a swing at the test. 

Hawke said anyone who applied before the surprise April 20 announcement will be filed through under the old system, before praising the more intense testing the new system will implement. Of course, that’s all under the guise of improving national security. 

Labor MP Tony Burke had a somewhat less rosy take on the whole deal, though. In his view, the announcement was pretty curiously timed to coincide with a public opinion poll, mirroring last year’s announcement that asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat will be permanently refused entry to the country.

As such, Burke straight up said “in fairness to you… no, it’s not about you. The announcement’s not about you. It’s about Newspoll.

As for that previous piece of proposed legislation? Welp, Burke seemed pretty peeved that the whole ban-asylum-seekers-from-even-being-tourists thing was “never heard of again. The government never returned to it. Just disappeared.

“This one, we have another Newspoll weekend coming up, and so we have a week leading up to it of a series of immigration and citizenship announcements.”

At its most lenient, it was a pretty concise rebuke of the government’s supposedly cynical timing – and, at worst, a charge that the powers that be are merely stoking fears about the character of migrants in an attempt to gain public support.

For what it’s worth, the Coalition government did experience a slight improvement in public perception after the latest announcement. Fancy that.

Catch the full exchange below:

Source and photo: ABC / Q&A.