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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 31 March 2018
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 31 MARCH 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Australian citizens will need ETIAS visas for Europe from 2020 To improve safety standards for international travellers throughout the European Union and increase security measures against terrorism, and people smuggling, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is adding another layer to the existing Schengen Agreement. The new ETIAS visa will be valid for three years and will allow people to travel freely within the Schengen Area (which encompassess 26 European countries as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) from the date of issue or until the holder’s passport expires. With its implementation, the new system will also apply to adult Australian citizens travelling in Europe from 2020 onwards, who will need to apply online for a ETIAS visa for a small fee. Travellers under 18 will still be able to enter Europe with their normal passport. According to the ETIAS Have your say on the federal government’s plan to change citizenship laws In a world-first motion, the Senate has set up a SurveyMonkey poll, asking voters for their opinion on Pauline Hanson’s bill to make the citizenship application process harder If a costly postal survey on marriage equality was not irregular enough a move from the legislative body to ask public approval for a piece of legislation, the Senate is moving deeper into novelty, setting up a non-binding SurveyMonkey online poll to check how voters feel about toughening up the laws regarding Australian citizenship. The topic was already debated, and blocked, by the Senate last year; as the Turnbull Government's proposals to require migrants to pass high-level English tests as part of a citizenship application, and that eligible visa holders should be permanent residents for four years before they apply for citizenship, were met with fierce political and public opposition. "As long as you are creating a situation [in which] we have a permanent underclass of noncitizens; permanent residents who never get to become citizens, you are changing Australia from a multicultural society to a segregated society," Tony Burke, Shadow Minis- ter for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia told SBS in October after the federal government's proposed legislation was opposed by Labor, the Greens, and the Nick Xenophon Team in the Senate, and struck from the Senate paper. Now, seven months later, a new bill – almost identical to the government's, bar the change of year in its name, and one new, tougher restriction on migrants to Australia becoming citizens – has been introduced by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. "I believe people should prove their loyalty to Australia, that they should be prepared to assimilate, that they don't have any criminal records of bad character," Hanson told Sky News. "I want more stringent tests on becoming an Australian citizen." Her bill, the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018 aims to amend the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 and Migration Act 1958 by strengthening citizenship requirements, and enabling the use and disclosure of personal citizenship information. The main difference between this and Peter Dutton's failed 2017 proposal is that it aims to raise the permanent residency requirement from the current four years to eight years. Other than that, Pauline Hanson's bill is word-for-word identical to the government's failed legislation. This fact led the Senate legal and constitutional affairs legislation committee to decide against holding yet another inquiry, opting instead to act on a member's suggestion and set up a SurveyMonkey online poll. The poll asks voters to have a say on the issue before it files its report in December. The poll contains one question: "do you support the provisions of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018? It also provides a link to the Parliament of Australia's web- site, where the bill can be examined and read in full. The online poll is a novel way of conducting an open consultation in Australia, not least because SurveyMonkey is a USbased online survey collection company, providing users with a cloud-based platform to run surveys via web, email, and social media such as Facebook. Anyone wishing to respond to the poll is required to provide a name and an email address (albeit without any verification, nor restrictions on the number of submissions one can enter). It is understood that the result of the poll will not be binding on the committee, nor on the Parliament. There is nothing to suggest that the Senate's stance has changed since October, making the bill's ratification extremely unlikely. You can go to the poll here: sur- veymonkey.com/r/GKXLPS6 Read more about Hanson’s proposed bill at aph.gov.au/ Parliamentary_Business/ Committees/Senate/Legal_ and_Constitutional_Affairs/ Citizenshipbill2018 website, the 2020 visa regulations will apply to Croatia and Bulgaria as well. If an ETIAS visa is not granted, travellers will not be allowed to board any aircraft, ferry, cruise ship or train heading to Europe. At the moment, Australian citizens have the right to stay within the Schengen Area zone and travel freely for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The ETIAS website says that "Australian citizens travelling to the EU for business or leisure reasons will be obligated to apply for an ETIAS visa," however, if a visa waiver exists between Australia and a European country Australian passport holders should be allowed to stay in these countries, usually for a period of 90 days. While Greece and Spain have cancelled their visa waiver agreements with Australia, it seems Germany, France, Holland, Austria, and most Scandinavian countries appear to still hold their visa waiver agreements. In any case, ETIAS advises that Australians planning to travel to Europe after the ETIAS visa comes into effect should make sure they can enter their destination. For further information go to schengenvisainfo.com/etias/ Police warns against the use of fireworks over the Easter period Victoria Police Leading Senior Constable Liz Sidiropoulos has announced that police will be on high alert over the Easter period, targeting the unauthorised and unlicensed use of fireworks and crackers as part of celebrations. "We respect the right of people to practice and celebrate their faith, but anyone who engages in unauthorised use of fireworks is simply irresponsible. Not only does it put your own life at risk, but also the lives of others," LSC Sidiropoulos said. "Time and time again, we've seen people become injured, including serious burns, as a result of letting off fireworks as part of religious festivities. These injuries are completely preventable. "Easter is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family, don't put others in danger by using illegal fireworks." Fireworks are considered explosives under Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2011 VIC and heavy penalties apply to persons using, transporting, or storing fireworks who does not hold a ‘Licence To Use Fireworks As A Pyrotechnician’. A person in possession of illegally obtained fireworks may be charged with a criminal offence for possession of an explosive, jailed for up to five years, and fined thousands of dollars. Anyone who witnesses this illegal behaviour should contact their local police immediately. Information about the sale or use of illegal fireworks can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or by submitting a confidential crime report to crimestoppersvic.com.au.
24 March 2018
7 April 2018