Legoland’s British owner Merlin Entertainments plans to open up to four more Legoland centres in premium shopping centres around Australia. Photo: Paul JeffersLegoland owner Merlin Entertainments will open up to four more Legoland Discovery Centres in major shopping centres around Australia in the next couple of years.
It opened its first southern hemisphere playground at Chadstone in Malvern East, Victoria, this week.
The $12 million Lego centre includes a four-dimensional cinema, interactive rides as well as more than 2 million Lego bricks for children and the brand’sgrown-up fans to enjoy.
Merlin settled on Melbourne as the launch site for its first Australian centre after research revealed the city had the nation’s biggest fan base for the timeless toy.
LegolandDiscovery Centre Melbourne general manager Drew Grove saidMerlin had plansto build on its international portfolio of 17 Legoland centresthrough partnerships with high-end malls in Australia.
Mr Grove said the global model was to locateLegolandwithin premium retail centres, malls that already boasted strong visitation numbers.
“The foot traffic to these centres is enormous and we pitch Legoland as a premium product, which aligns with the key demographics of centres like Chadstone,” Mr Grove said.
“We see LegolandDiscovery Centreas attracting domestic and international visitation but also local visitors through the drive market of up to90 minutes away and repeat visitation, which is why we anchor in those shopping centres because they have those repeat visitors.”
For Chadstone co-owners Vicinity Centresand Gandel Group, Legoland is a powerful new drawcard for the ever-expandingcentre, which is expected to attractmore than 22 million visitors this year alone.
The opening of Legolandfollows the launchof two new dining precincts at Chadstone in October as well as its Hoyts cinema as part of the centre’s $660 million redevelopment.
Chadstone general manager Fiona McKenzie revealed the centre had also recently launched anexpressions of interest campaign for the hotel slated for the sprawling retail property.
A lego model of the Royal Exhibition Building at the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at Chadstone Shopping Centre. Photo: Paul Jeffers
“We have a really amazingretail offer at Chadstone, there’s something for everybodyfrom the top endto the bottom end but what we need to do iskeep evolving the experience and Lego changes all the time, so this isn’t going to be what it is forever and a day,” Ms McKenzie said.
“We like to keep it interesting for our customers so there’s something new every time they visit.”
It’s been a tough few months for the Australian retail sector withsix, high-profile labels collapsing since December and Chadstone acknowledged social experiences were a vital asset for retail properties in the current market.
“We are very lucky at a centre like Chadstone, we are at the forefront of shopping centres in the southern hemisphere and we are only six months into a $660 million redevelopment … and we also get high tourism numbers.”
Chadstone already runs a shuttle bus from the city, which makes up to 10 trips a day from FederationSquare in the CBD and there are plans to expand this service with the addition of a shuttle service from SouthernCross station and a third servicefrom a yet to be determined location.
Ms McKenzie said tourism was an important opportunity for the centre and Legoland would only boost the property’s tourism credentials.
CRACK floating police squads which could pounce on small towns and suburbs to smash drug rings and anti-social behaviour look set to be introduced across regional NSW in a proposal being considered by new Commissioner Mick Fuller.
ROVING: The success of region enforcement squads in Sydney has led to speculation the new NSW Commissioner Mick Fuller will expand the squads across the rest of the state.
Fairfax Media understands region enforcement squads may be rolled out across the rest of the state following their continued successthroughout Sydney in extinguishing localised problems by flooding troubled areas with dozens of officers.
The squads wouldconsist of about 30 plain-clothed officers and could perform work similar to that being performed by smaller units across local area commands including target action groups and special operations groups.
Thatwork could range from investigatinglocal spikes in property crimes, such as burglary and car theft, to taking on serious drug syndicates.
Their immediacy – and ability to inundate trouble spots –have impressed senior police,and the fact that Mr Fuller, who took over from Andrew Scipione last month, helped in setting them up across metropolitan Sydney has enhanced their claims.
They are separate to the once-successful regional crime squads, which were comprised of detectives who took over major cases including murder and armed robberies but were disbanded in the 1990s following the royal commission.
“They have been brilliant in Sydney; the fact you can have so many blokes just go in and smash a place just works,’’ one senior officer told Fairfax Media.
“And I think they would be even better regionally.
“Having a resource that you can immediately call on to go and quiet down a place just hasn’t been available.
“It means you can really nip something in the bud before it takes off.’’
Aspokesman for Mr Fuller refused to confirm on Thursday the proposed expansion of the region enforcement squads, stating it was too early to speculate.
However, it is understood to be firmly on the table for the senior executive.
One of the main hurdles to the proposed expansions across the state includesfinding the numbers to fill the squads, with local area commanders across the regions having to fill vacancies from their own staff.
A HUNTER man charged with the murder of a woman more than three decades ago has been granted conditional bail with a court noting there is an absence of forensic evidence to incriminate him.
Rodney Lawrence, 66,is charged with the stabbing murder of Elizabeth “Betty” Dixon, 31, whose body was discovered in her car in bushland at Ashtonfieldin April 1982.
The NorthernIrishwomanhad been tied up, suffered 27 stab wounds and head injuries consistent with being struck with a blunt object.
Mr Lawrence has pleadednot guilty to the murder and thealternative charge of being an accessory after the fact.
During a release application in the Supreme Courton Wednesday the court heard Mr Lawrencehas consistently maintained his dead father-in-law was the culprit.
On Thursday Justice Elizabeth Fullerton granted Mr Lawrence strict conditional bail, including that he live with his sister andanumber of people deposit a combined total of $72,000 surety.
Justice Fullerton said the Crown case is based on theinconsistencies in the accounts he has given to police and to his son about hismovements at the time of Ms Dixon’s death.
Mr Lawrence’s barrister ChrisBruce SC had told the court that Mr Lawrence had consistently maintained the “principal offender” was his father-in-law, William Phillips, who had since died, and who Mr Lawrence said had threatened him.
Mr Lawrence’s son had recalled a 2002 conversation when his father told him Mr Phillips had killed Ms Dixon and Mr Lawrence had later assisted him “under duress”, Mr Brucesaid.
ARREST: Rodney Lawrence being led away by detectives following his arrest for the murder of Elizabeth Dixon.
Another judge had denied Mr Lawrence bail in December 2015 but Justice Fullerton said Mr Lawrence will have been in custody for two years if kept on remand before his trial starts in November.
The lawyer for the Crown opposed bail, alleging Mr Lawrence had told lies and was the “perpetrator” despite maintaining his father-in-law was the culprit.
The court also heard there was concern Mr Lawrence would attempt tointerferewith his son to “deter him from giving evidence at the trial”.
But Justice Fullerton said any risk could be mitigated by strict bail conditions including that he be of good behaviour and report daily to police. She noted he has long-standing problems with alcohol.
“He’s a grown man with no prior criminal record; he has given various accounts its true [but]he willunderstandmore than anybody the need tocomplywith strict conditions,” she said.
The week that was April 15 – April 21 | photos NEWCASTLE: Hunter man eats nothing but chocolate for one week. Picture: Marina Neil
HUNTER: Australian Reptile Park’s King Cobra Raja is longest venomous snake residing in the country. Picture: Australian Reptile Park
NEWCASTLE: Uber driver Kay Benson, 62, outside one of the service’s hotspots, the Cambridge Hotel. The ride-sharing app launched in Newcastle a year ago and now has 500 local drivers. Picture: Simone De Peak
NEWCASTLE: Hunter Living Histories video turns back the clock on early Newcastle. Picture: Hunter Living Histories
HUNTER: Dog rescue in the Watagans: Zeus the dog falls off 15-metre cliff and lives to bark the tale. Picture: Supplied
NEWCASTLE: Phil O’Neill has been waiting four years on his claim about damage to his Wangi Wangi house caused by the road base spreading. His wife, Beverley, died at the start of this year. Pictures: Marina Neil
NEWCASTLE: A popular Islington cafe had a surprise visit from an unlikely customer on Tuesday morning.
NEWCASTLE: Cale Fletcher hopes to enjoy both dance and medicine long-term. “They’re not mutually exclusive.” Picture: Simone De Peak
NEWCASTLE: Author Tony Harris published the first of his six books in 1992. They all have QR codes that allow children to learn more online about animals. His books are used in 32 countries. Picture: Simone De Peak
HUNTER: Hunter and Central Coast cancer patients, carers and families asked to tell their stories on palliative care. Picture: Simone De Peak
HUNTER: Hunter duo to take giant step with Big Fish.
PORT STEPHENS: Shark sighting closes Fingal Beach. Picture: CSIRO
PORT STEPHENS: Stardust Circus is in town, and with them is six lions, 13 horses, six monkeys, three goats, two pics and five dogs. Pictures: Ellie-Marie Watts
LAKE MACQUARIE: Lake Mac Heritage Festival an Easter drawcard at Toronto . Picture: David Stewart
LAKE MACQUARIE: Artist Paul Andrews, right, with Kilpatrick Court day program participants Ken Tredennick and Bob Crowe who were reminiscing aboput old times spent at Newcastle Beach. Picture: Supplied
PORT STEPHENS: An Easter egg hunt at Murray’s Brewery has raised $1200 for the RFS. Picture: Supplied
LAKE MACQUARIE: Shirralee goat stud scores best ever result at Sydney Royal Easter Show. Picture: David Stewart
PORT STEPHENS: Vietnam vet Des Bailey still hopeful more medals stolen from his Raymond Terrace home will be returned. Picture: Sam Norris
PORT STEPHENS: Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie congratulates residents on taking the citizenship pledge. Picture: Sam Norris
CESSNOCK: KFC Cessnock owners no longer plan to move restaurant, explore options for Aberdare Road site.
CESSNOCK: Bronwyn Monckton has success with Norwegian Elkhounds at Sydney Royal Dog Show.
DUNGOG: There were plenty of wild designs and wild pilots willing to challenge gravity to taste victory at Gresford’s annual Billy Cart Derby. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
CESSNOCK: Bellbird’s Noah Doust, 18 months, with Scentsy’s charitable cause product Sebastian the Superbuddy, which helps raise funds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.Picture: Marina Neil
DUNGOG: It was a wild show of local talent and nerves of steel at the Dungog Rodeo on Saturday night. Picture: Marina Neil
HUNTER: Glencore’s land & property manager, Nigel Charnock, Gary Johncock, general manager, Colinta and agronomist Neil Nelson with some of the trial steers.
HUNTER: Singleton Council’s Melinda Hale, Kevin Lomax from Singleton Community Garden, Keith Simkin from Glencore and Uncle Perry from Kotara School with children from Singleton Out of School Hours Care (OOSHC) at the event.
HUNTER: Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Scone Support Group hosting special fundraiser at Scone Sporties Club this month.
HUNTER: Liam Wallace is excited about leading Scone Junior Hotshots program.
HUNTER: Muswellbrook High School students set to play major role on Anzac Day.
MAITLAND: Stephanie Purdon owner of Lavender’s Cafe in The Levee said her business experienced great Easter trade over the four-day break. Picture: Marina Neil.
MAITLAND: Maitland produce market back in the mall. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
MAITLAND: Maitland councillor Philip Penfold pictured with an overgrown median strip on the New England Highway at East Maitland.
MAITLAND: McKeachies rat run causes alarm among residents who fear for their safety. Picture: Simone De Peak
facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappPhotos from around the Hunter’s top news websites including the Newcastle Herald, Maitland Mercury, Port Stephens Examiner, Lakes Mail, Dungog Chronicle, Singleton Argus, Muswellbrook Chronicle, Scone Advocate and Hunter Valley news.
USING HIS SMARTS: Jacob Foy at Newcastle Basketball Stadium on Thursday. The teenager is averaging 12 points in his first six games. Picture: Michael ParrisAn Australian NBA champion is giving Newcastle Hunters rookie Jacob Foy hope that he, too, can make it to the big time.
Foy, a 17-year-old six-foot-four shooting guard, has enjoyed an eye-catching start to his senior career at the Hunters, averaging 12 points per game after six rounds.
The St Francis Xavier year 12 student moved to Newcastle from Port Macquarie two years ago and is eyeing a US college scholarship after high school.
He admits he is not the most dynamic athlete in a sport dominated by high flyers, but he sees Milwaukee Bucks star Matthew Dellavedova as a blueprint for success in the game.
“You want to be realistic with where you’re at, but it’s encouraging to see what the Aussies have done in the NBA,” he told the Herald on Thursday as the Hunters prepare for their Kibble-Mallon Cup showdown with the Maitland Mustangs on Saturday at Newcastle Basketball Stadium.
“I’m not a Matthew Dellavedovaor anyone like that, but it’s definitely encouraging to see what they’ve done. I’m not quite as athletic as some other guys.”
@HuntersBBall young gun Jacob Foy shooting 3-pointers. Kibble-Mallon Cup game v Maitland this weekend. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter苏州美甲学校/XRSmxNZ5kh
— Michael Parris (@mhparris) April 20, 2017
Foy is the same size as the dogged Dellavedova, an unfashionable player who defied the critics to help Cleveland to an NBA title last year and is again attracting plenty of attention in the Bucks’ play-off series against the Toronto Raptors.
“Probably different in the positions and the way we play, but the way he has to use his shooting, his craftiness, because of his lack of athleticism. It’s something I want to follow,” Foy said.
“Because he can’t out-jump people or out-run people,you kind of want to use your head and your skills.”
Foy, a NSWjunior representative, said he was happy with how well he had adjusted to the Waratah Basketball League, even though the Hunters are eighth with a 2-4 record.
The left-handed shooter led the team’s scoring with 20 points in an 84-59 loss to Hills Hornets and has scored 14 and 18 points in other games.
“It’s been good fun, a really good group of people. It’s definitely a learn-on-the-run type of thing.
“It’s just trying to adapt to the pace. It’s just a lot quicker, bigger bodies. I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve adjusted, but I’m still adjusting.
“I definitely want to go to college in the next couple of years. Division one would be the ultimate goal. Just anything to get over there. I definitely think I could get to that level.
“I’m just trying to get some exposure, and this is a pretty good league to get that.”
ONLY time will tell how serious the Turnbull government is about a proposal to decentralise –where possible –the federal public service, which was announced at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday by the deputy Nationals leader and Minister for Regional Affairs, Senator Fiona Nash.
As Senator Nash recounted on Wednesday, a number of federal departments have already been moved into regional centres over the years. The decentralisation push has also occupied state politics from time to time, most notably in this region when part of the Mineral Resources Department was shiftedfrom Sydney to Maitland in 2003.
But as the federal government is learning with its decision to movethe Australian Pesticides and Medicines Authority from Canberra to Armidale, these things do not always go smoothly. The savings that are often held up as justification for such moves are not always achieved, especially if public servants take redundancy rather than move;and wherever a department is moved to, there are usually allegations of pork-barelling in some form or other.
And if these concerns are not enough, critics will oftenbring up the Whitlam government’s grand dream of turning the NSW and Victorian border townof Albury-Wodonga into a modern city of 300,000 people, to prove once and for all that decentralisation does not work. But as Senator Nash saidin her speech on Wednesday, some parts of regional Australia are already gaining population, and there are good reasons to explore decentralisation again at this time. In a free-market democracy like Australia, governments should not be telling people where they should live or work but anything that can encourage well-paid jobs in centres other than Canberra and the big state capitals isworth exploring. Although Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon criticised Senator Nash’s proposal as “a thought bubble”, the Hunter is surely one of the regions that could benefit should the decentralisation proposal gain momentum.
Senator Nash mentioned cheaper property prices as one attraction inshifting public servants into regional Australia, but it would be a mistake to try to use the location of government jobs as a lever in the property market. At the same time, Australia would benefit from havingits population more evenly spread, and the government, as a major employer, has the ability to try to make this happen.
Family support: Quintuplets Georgia, Jack, Erika, Louis and India Chapman-Burgess. They credit their parents Ian and Adele, who started university aged 40, with instilling in them their respect for education. Picture: Max Mason-HubersERIKA Chapman-Burgess told hardly anyone she had applied to study medicine, out of fear she wouldn’t be accepted into the degree.
Erika Chapman-Burgess is a member of Aus’ only Indigenous quintuplets. She graduated with Bach of Med from @[email protected]苏州美甲学校/WvFOrnSUJ9
— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) April 20, 2017Grey’s Anatomywhen she was in year seven.
“I’ve got a caring nature and I’ve had family members become unwell and pass away at an early age,” she said. “I started thinking ‘Can I make a difference? Can I contribute to healthcare in this country?”
The“quiet achiever” studied for one year, took ayear off to do casual work and then returned to the degree.
“It affected mephysically, mentally and emotionally, I’d come home in tears saying I didn’t want to do it anymore, but you get up and go back to work the next day because you have to do it,” she said. “It defines you, it makes you a totally different person because you have awhole different concept of life and what really matters –your family, relationships and not to sweat the small stuff. Working with people who do have health issues also makes you realise that if you are healthy and have a great life, you should be very grateful for that.”
She said the keys to success were working hard, having a plan and willpower.
Family support: Quintuplets Georgia, Jack, Erika, Louis and India Chapman-Burgess. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers Graduation lists: P12-13, more pictures: P26-27
A total of 5429 students will graduate this month at the UON Great Hall.
The “vast majority” of NSW HSC students will receive their university offers just five days after getting their ATAR this year, as the body responsible for tertiary admissions moves to “reduce the stress” of the month-long wait students currently face.
However, their interstate peers and NSW pupils who do the International Baccalaureate will need to wait nearly three weeks to hear from universities.
Ahead of the 2018 application process, the Universities Admissions Centre has abolished the “main offer round”, under which more than 44,000 students received offers for university courses on January 18 this year.
Instead, it has established a “December round” on December 21, 2017, just five days after ATARs are released and six days after students learn their HSC results, and a ”January round” on January 12, 2018, a week after IB results are released.
Dates for eight early offer rounds from August to December, during which nearly 29,000 offers were made last year, have also been pushed forward slightly.
“This has been coming for a number of years and some institutions already did offers around the ATAR,” a spokeswoman for UAC said.
“It was always going to be better for students. It reduces the stress of those few extra weeks.”
The UAC spokeswoman said students from other states, and those doing the IB, a globally recognised assessment offered at 28 non-government schools in NSW and taken by more than 2000 pupils across Australia last year, would not be disadvantaged by the changes.
“For some highly competitive courses, universities will wait until January to make all their offers,” she said.
Universities have confirmed they will aim to release offers in December, but did not respond to questions about whether any “competitive courses” would be excluded from this offer round.
“Historically, [the University of Technology Sydney] has made the vast majority of its … offers to applicants in the January ‘main’ round,” a spokesman for UTS said.
“It is likely that we will be in a position in future to take a similar approach using the new December round, giving all applicants an earlier assurance of a place at UTS even for highly competitive courses.”
A spokeswoman for the University of Sydney said the changes were made after consultation with universities.
“[The new system] was developed after substantial feedback from across the sector and as a result of a desire to make offers with less delay after the release of ATARS,” she said.
UNSW and Macquarie University also supported the earlier offer rounds.
“The new offer rounds system provides certainty earlier for students, before the end of the year, and this can support an earlier transition to university,” Macquarie University’s pro vice-chancellor learning and teaching Professor Sherman Young said.
UAC has also announced that from this year students will only be able to nominate a maximum of five course preferences, down from nine in previous years.
“The reduction in the number of preferences streamlines the process, while still allowing students plenty of choice,” according to the admissions centre.
“In the previous system, many students felt they should ‘fill up’ all nine preferences.”
Students will still be able to change their preferences for different offer rounds.
About 6 per cent of offers made during the 2017 main round fell under preferences six to nine.
Professor Young said having fewer preferences would make the process “less confusing for students”.
“Research shows that preferences six to nine had very poor conversion rates and were less utilised or not the students dream degree or provider choice,” he said.
FRIENDLY, SAFE AND COMFORTABLE: Newcastle Endoscopy Centre provides high quality care in state-of-the-art facilities dedicated exclusively to endoscopy procedures.Bowel, or colorectal cancer, is Australia’s second most common cancer and contrary to some misconceptions is almost as prevalent in women, as it is in men.
That’s why it is imperative that women, just like men, report family history of the disease and/or symptoms to their GP as soon as detected.
“The old statement, ‘don’t die of embarrassment’ in relation to bowel cancer, is as valid for women as it is for men,”according to gastroenterologist Dr George Radvan, from Newcastle Endoscopy Centre.
“The disease does not discriminate across gender and can occur in young people, male or female.
“The incidence increases with age, which is why the government’s screening program begins at age 50.”
The good news is bowel cancer ispreventable, treatable and curable if caught in its early stages.
Symptoms includebleeding, recurring stomach pain, change of bowelhabit (constipation or diarrhea) and/or family history.
Newcastle Endoscopy Centre is Newcastle’s only dedicated, stand-alone endoscopic facility, specialising in non-invasive procedures for bowel (colonoscopy) and stomach (gastroscopy) cancers using state-of-the-art equipment.
Sixteen specialists operate outof the nationally accredited site at Charlestown, which was opened four and a half years ago in response to demand in the region.
Considered a centre of excellence, the facility has seen over 10,000 patients since.
“Newcastle Endoscopy Centre offers patients, and particularly women, a pleasant, private environment for what is a potentially embarrassing procedure,” Dr Radvan said.
“Our satisfaction rates exceed 99 per cent and we’ve had tremendous feedback that women find this a very discreet service.
“It’s extremely personalised, and we pride ourselves that our nursing staff are high calibre and very reassuring.
“Patients also comment on how warm,courteous and reassuring our reception staff are.”
Open access referral is another feature at Newcastle Endoscopy Centre.
“Traditionally a GP would refer a patient to a specialist,” Dr Radvan said.
“This involved potential delay in seeing the specialist and getting onto waiting lists.
“Open access enables GPs to refer patients to the centre which either allocates the patient to the GP’s specialist or the first available specialist if the GP is worried that any delay could be a problem.
“This results in substantial time and cost savings for the patient.”
Newcastle Endoscopy Centre is conveniently located at 20-22 Smith Street, Charlestown, with easy access to public transport and parking.
For more information visit 苏州美甲学校网newcastleendoscopy苏州美甲学校苏州美甲学校网.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration minister Peter Dutton during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 20 April 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe Turnbull government’s proposed changes to citizenship laws, including tougher tests and a focus on social cohesion, could unfairly punish vulnerable migrants, community groups have warned.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton unveiled tough new hurdles for prospective Australians, including a stricter English language requirement and an “Australian values” test. Applicants would also face a longer wait before being eligible for citizenship.
Mr Turnbull has challenged Labor to back the changes, framing it as a test of belief “in the values that have made Australia the remarkable nation that it is”.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten dismissed the Prime Minister’s “desperate” challenge and renewed focus on immigration as politically motivated. However, he suggested Labor was open to supporting some of the proposals, including the English language emphasis and increased waiting period.
The new citizenship test could ask applicants whether they think female genital mutilation, family violence and arranged marriages are acceptable.
Joe Caputo, chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, said the government needed to avoid “an assumption that people from diverse backgrounds have values that are contrary to so-called Australian values”. He said important values – and problems – were not limited to specific ethnic groups.
Mr Caputo, who came to Australia in the 1970s, said his mother had very limited English because she had migrated in her 40s and spent a lot of time at home looking after the family.
“Every migrant knows that, unless you speak English in this country, you will not go very far,” he said. “So every migrant knows that English is extremely important. The question for us is what sort of opportunity we give when people arrive to learn English.”
Mr Caputo said that the citizenship test – which can be attempted only three times under the new proposal – risks being an arbitrary measurement that does not recognise a commitment to human rights and capacity for contribution to the community.
He said “people do feel singled out” and tests could “unfairly target” vulnerable migrants, such as refugees. He called for improved migrant education and settlement support.
Mr Turnbull said English proficiency was necessary to succeed in Australian life and that the values-based test was proposed “because it’s important to reinforce our values”.
Before a full briefing, Labor questioned the necessity of some measures, and asserted the renewed focus on immigration was about shielding the government from right-wing populist challenges from former prime minister Tony Abbott and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
On Tuesday, the government announced it would abolish 457 temporary worker visas and replace them with a program that includes stricter language requirements and labour market testing.
Mr Shorten said the proposal was “about Malcolm Turnbull desperate to save his own job”, but committed to consideration of the proposals.
Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said it was “a little odd” to ask people if they would obey the law regarding family violence and female genital mutilation when they had already pledged, as part of the citizenship process, to obey Australian law.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson praised the Prime Minister for “finally acting on the suggestions I made to him about the citizenship test”.
Carla Wilshire, chief executive of the Migration Council Australia, said some elements of the package, especially the English language requirement, could be “problematic”.
“Particularly for vulnerable sections of the migrant community, particularly for those from a refugee background,” Ms Wilshire said.
“People from refugee backgrounds often come after prolonged periods in camps and can be illiterate in their own language, and we’re bringing them here for humanitarian reasons.”
Ms Wilshire said there were positives in the statement of Australian values, but speculated that the integration requirements – compelling applicants to provide proof of employment, school enrolment and community contribution – could be difficult to implement.
“The emphasis should be on settlement services, including the Adult Migrant English Program and broadening its capacity to teach new migrants. But we should also keep in mind that many new migrants, in order to support their family, will choose employment options which limit their capacity to learn English,” she said.
“We do need to look at increasing the level of cultural orientation we provide to new migrants, particularly around issues such as gender equality and access to justice.”
Keysar Trad, the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, also questioned why the citizenship changes were needed.
“We want to support freedom of religion and the female education, and the safety of both the female and male members of the community, but it is very clear from the list [of changes] that the Prime Minister is appealing to the least-informed section of the society, and he’s pandering rather than being constructive,” he said.
Refugee Council of Australia’s CEO chief executive Paul Power said tougher English language standards and a limit on citizenship test attempts would discriminate against refugees, particularly older ones.