Pro­posed change to Aus­tralian Cit­i­zen­ship Cer­e­monies Code

Pretoria News - - WORLD - |

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. |

| AP

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.

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