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POLITICS |

You don’t need English to be an Australian citizen

Should we be changing our national anthem’s lyrics to “We’ve boundless plains to share… but only if you can speak English”? Allie Severin explores the most recent proposal to make English proficiency a pre-requisite to gaining Australian citizenship

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POLITICS |

Banning prisoners from speaking Arabic is lazy and probably a human rights breach

Arabic is not a small, minority language. It is the fourth most widely spoken language in Australia. The decision to ban some NSW prisoners speaking it is not only possibly a human rights breach but also just lazy, according to Greg Dickson.

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POLITICS |

Did C-Pyne drop the c-bomb?

Earlier today a number of news agencies (perhaps all of them, ever) reported on a video, in which Education Minister Christopher Pyne appears to call Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke the c-bomb after Burke interrupted his speech. Here’s a video of the incident: The minister’s office quickly came out and stated that Pyne had [...]

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POLITICS |

Let’s call a cull, a cull

As the unpopular shark bait and shoot program continues in Western Australia, fisheries minister Troy Buswell has defended the policy, saying that it isn’t a cull, but a ‘localised shark mitigation strategy’. Lochlan Morrissey suspects Buswell learned the art of political euphemism from the best.

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POLITICS |

What’s in a name? For the Timorese, quite a lot

How to refer to our young neighbour to the north? Is it East Timor, Timor Lorosa’e or Timor-Leste? Gordon Peake and Piers Kelly investigate.

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POLITICS |

How cuts to the NT Education Department could widen the gap

First, they rejected Gonski because too much funding would go to remote community schools. Now, the NT Education department is cutting positions that are key in supporting Aboriginal students who don’t speak English at home. Greg Dickson demonstrates the benefit that such support positions can bring and argues that the NT Government’s handling of education could easily cause the much-discussed “gap” to widen rather than narrow.

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POLITICS |

Redefining the refugee

Fairfax media reports that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has sent a list of appropriate terminology for referring to refugee boat arrivals, including referring to the people as ‘illegal arrivals’ and ‘detainees’. How does changing terminology change how we think about something?

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POLITICS |

Candidates get their language on

One day out from the election and Greg Dickson has noticed a few more languages other than English being used in various campaigns. Is this a last-ditch effort to reach every constituent, a deliberate recognition of our linguistic diversity, or just because we can?

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POLITICS |

LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates

With the election campaign in full-swing, you could be forgiven for thinking all the candidates are monolingual English speakers. Not true. Here’s a starter’s guide to people on your ballot paper who speak Languages Other Than English (LOTEs). But why didn’t you know all this before? Greg Dickson argues it’s part of politics race to the bottom to appeal to a dumbed-down notion of middle Australia.

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POLITICS |

The bouncer at the national door: the Australian citizenship test

The Australian citizenship test has been with us since 2007, but is it doing more than just quizzing future Aussies on their knowledge of our form of government, our sporting legends and our public holidays? Linguistics student Ben Purser asks some questions of his own.

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