Australia’s English test for partner visas could leave women at mercy of abusers, experts warn | Australian budget 2020

The federal government’s plan to force people seeking a partner visa to learn English could leave them without a safety net from family violence, critics have said, despite the Coalition’s claim that the measure is aimed at protecting women.

The government announced in Tuesday’s budget that from late 2021 it would require partner visa applicants applying for permanency to have made “reasonable efforts” to learn English. The same test would apply to their permanent resident sponsors.

The acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, said “reasonable efforts” could include taking 500 hours of the free adult migrant English program classes.

The government is boosting the number of partner visas available this financial year from just under 40,000 of the 160,000 overall visa cap to 72,300 in total. There will also be a new fee, with sponsors being charged $420 on top of the usual $7,715 partner visa application fee.

The increase in

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Australia’s women continue relentless pursuit of ODI winning streak record

There is something intense about winning streaks. On their rare appearances in a casino, there is a fever in the eyes of those involved. In horse racing they become a public obsession, like with Black Caviar or Winx. Each start has more riding on it, as the streak becomes more valuable than the stakes. We see the angst of trainers manipulating careers trying to both extend the streak and avoid ending it.

a group of people wearing costumes: Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Test cricket streaks are tough work, with up to five days in the field for each result, and always the chance that rain will ruin your run. Limited-overs games could be interpreted as more difficult, because shorter formats give quality less of a chance to overcome setbacks. A bad few minutes can mean you are four for 20, and cannot score enough that day.

Related: ‘When she speaks, you

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Older women and disabled people hardest hit by Australia’s assault on welfare

a group of people in front of a sign: Photograph: Stefan Postles/AAP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Stefan Postles/AAP

Two decades of welfare crackdowns by successive governments have resulted in a sharp rise in older women and people with disabilities languishing on unemployment benefits for longer.

A Parliamentary Budget Office paper issued on Wednesday reveals that, as of 2019, 62% of men receiving jobseeker payment are staying on the benefit longer than 12 months – up from 51% in 2007.

But the change is even more drastic among women, rising from 47.6% to 71.2%.

The analysis – which tracks the impact of big shifts in welfare policy dating back as far as the Howard years – confirms warnings from advocates and analysis by Guardian Australia that the unemployed are spending longer on benefits than ever before.

a group of people in front of a sign: Researchers argue unemployment benefits now appear to ‘function as a kind of pre-age-pension payment for some older Australians’.

© Photograph: Stefan Postles/AAP
Researchers argue unemployment benefits now appear to ‘function as a kind of pre-age-pension payment for some older Australians’.

In 2007, 9.5%

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