Proposed change to Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code
BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has warned MPs that failure to back her plan to leave the EU would be catastrophic for Britain, in a plea for support two days ahead of a vote in parliament that she is expected to lose.
MPs are set to vote on May’s Brexit deal tomorrow, after she shelved plans for a vote in December when it became clear that not enough MPs from her own party or others would back the deal she agreed to with Brussels.
May looks little closer to securing the support she needs, but writing in the Sunday Express she said MPs must not let down the people who voted for Brexit.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” May said. “So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
On Friday, her foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, said Brexit might not happen at all if May’s deal was defeated.
Britain, the world’s fifth largest economy, is scheduled to quit the EU on March 29.
There were reports that rebel MPs were planning to wrest control of the legislative agenda away from May next week with a view to suspending or delaying Brexit, citing a senior government source.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen military planners have been deployed by Britain’s Ministry of Defence to key government ministries as the country prepares for its exit from the EU, media reported yesterday.
Six military planners have been sent to the Cabinet Office, four to the Border Force, three to the Foreign Office and one to the Department of Transport, a Sunday newspaper said.
Insiders were reportedly saying that some departments had asked for assistance with planning for a “no-deal” Brexit scenario.
If on March 29 Britain leaves the EU without an agreement on trade and borders, the bloc’s rules would cease to apply in the country, which would drop out of shared arrangements such as common air traffic rules or trade deals with third countries.
Earlier in the week, DoT trialled a disused airfield as an emergency lorry park in a test for possible border chaos. Late in December, the department signed agreements worth £108 million (R1.9 billion) for additional ferry crossings for freight shipments.
The land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would also pose a major problem in case of a “no-deal”. Efforts to keep that border open have been at the heart of Brexit negotiations. AUSTRALIA’S federal government has ordered local governments to hold naturalisation ceremonies for new citizens on Australia Day amid controversy over the holiday, which some claim is offensive to its indigenous people.
The government is proposing that all local government bodies in Australia, typically referred to as councils, must hold induction ceremonies for new citizens on the Australia Day holiday on January 26 and the Australian Citizenship Day holiday on September 17, or have their authorisation revoked, Immigration Minister David Coleman said in a statement yesterday.
Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first British fleet to Sydney Cove, where the British flag was raised on the continent marking the start of colonisation.
Aborigines trace their lineage on the island continent back 50 000 years and, for them, the date marks the start of the loss of their cultural heritage and suffering under discriminatory policies. The holiday has become controversial with pressure by activists to change the date from what they call “Invasion Day”.
The country’s 700 000 or so indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator.
Several local councils have stopped holding citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day because of concerns the date is insulting to Aborigines.
At a press conference televised by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday, Coleman said more than 100 of the country’s 537 councils do not hold citizenship ceremonies on the Australia Day holiday.
However, Australian Local Government Association president David O’Loughlin said councils hold multiple citizenship ceremonies throughout the year and the majority of those who skip Australia Day do so for practical reasons.
“It’s very expensive to do a public event on a public holiday,” he said yesterday. “Only two or three moved the day for ideological reasons.”
The proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code are planned for introduction by the first half of this year, the minister’s statement said. Coleman plans to write to the councils and get feedback on the changes. |
A union member protests outside Britain’s Department of Transport headquarters calling for new cross Channel ferries to be crewed by UK workers in London.