New Zealanders living in Australia could be given voting rights, Albanese reveals
New Zealanders who live and work in Australia could be granted voting rights, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed.
Albanese and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met this morning and have discussed progressing citizenship deals between the two countries.
Albanese revealed the government is considering giving New Zealanders who have been a resident in Australia for a year voting rights.
“In New Zealand, if you’re an Australian who has been resident for a year, you have voting rights in New Zealand, you’re able to participate fully in those processes,” he said.
“We’ll be asking the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters to consider whether there’s a way to return to systems that have existed in the past of giving New Zealand people who are here in Australia, contributing to society, paying taxes, working, voting rights here in Australia as well.”
The leaders also announced progress in helping temporary residents living in either country gain citizenship by next year.
“We know that there have been a range of issues raised relating to citizenship and we think those pathways and working through these issues so that people get more rights that are more consistent,” Albanese said.
“Whether it be Australians who have moved to New Zealand or New Zealanders moving to Australia.”
Ardern said the progress of the citizenship deal will recognise New Zealanders living in Australia and their contribution to the country.
“We’ve long argued that New Zealanders are Australia’s best migrants, and I don’t say that lightly,” she said.
“Our ask has been for there to be a greater acknowledgement of the role that New Zealanders play here in Australia.
“The fact that we have – and you’ll see this in our communique – an agreement that no New Zealander or Australian should be rendered permanently temporary – that is a step-change in the way that we’ve previously seen New Zealanders treated here.”
Both leaders emphasised the progress to providing more temporary residents citizenship is “common sense” and in the “spirit of friendship”.