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Sociology expert hits back at Geoffrey Blainey over calls to make it harder to get Australian citizenship

A sociology expert has hit back at celebrated historian Geoffrey Blainey over his comments on Australian citizenship.

At a Sydney speaking event, Mr Blainey said granting citizenship to people who haven’t lived in Australia for a long period of time, and who don’t know the language or customs, threatens democracy.

He said citizenship is given away too easily and called for barriers to make it harder to become a citizen.

Jock Collins, Professor of Social Economics at UTS Business School, said the opposite is true.

“Ensuring that immigrants get citizenship fairly easily is the backbone of Australian democracy,” he said.

“Immigrants have been a key part of nation-building in Australia.

“The critical thing is that we’ve provided immigrants with citizenship. That’s important because they want to commit to Australia.

“To see it somehow as a threat to Australian society, I think, is to completely misread the situation.”

Mr Collin called for the number of years a person must have lived in Australia before applying for citizenship to be dropped from four years to two.

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