Greens Senate candidate for Queensland Navdeep Singh has demanded an urgent review of the current testing system in place to measure the English language standards for migrants.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a widely-accepted test to measure visa applicants’ English language ability.
A good English score in IELTS is often a pre-requisite for international study, migration and work.
The IELTS score is often valid for two years but in some cases the validity has now been extended to three years.
“So if IELTS expires, does that mean your English has expired”, asks Navdeep Singh, a Greens Senate candidate for Queensland.
Mr Singh said the English language requirements set for international studies and for the migration purpose are making peoples’ lives difficult.
“This is one of the most important issues for migrant communities which we need to address on an urgent basis,” he said.
“It is important to have reasonable English language standards, not only for social cohesion but also as an important skill to succeed in Australia. But regretfully, this whole system especially the English Language test IELTS has turned into a money-making business.”
Mr Singh has demanded a review in the current English language testing system, the IELTS.
“It should be urgently reviewed as there are flaws in this system. Why are we forcing migrants to sit in this test again and again? I wonder how your English can expire,” he asks.
“I know people who are under severe depression. They’re frustrated with their repeated failure to get through the English requirement. Some of them had to sit in this exam over ten times.”
IELTS doesn’t have a provision to take up the test in different modules on an individual basis.
Mr Singh alleged that the system is designed in a way that if an applicant fails in one module but clears the other three, he’ll need to book the whole test again.
“So basically, it’s all about making money without putting people first,” he says.
Mr Singh also demanded more transparency in corporate donations to the political parties.
“I joined The Greens because they represent all of us, whereas the major parties are under the influence of their big corporate donors,” he said.
“For the financial year 2015-16, IELTS’ co-owner IDP has donated over 180,000 dollars to the Australian Labor Party. They’d explain what their expectations are when they make political donations.”
“People have a right to know the nature of interactions that IDP has with ALP or any other political parties.”
A spokesperson from IDP has denied allegations of giving any political donations to ALP.
The statement reads – “The figure Mr Singh quoted as a “donation” was, in fact, rental payment to the Community and Public Sector Union for office space we rented at commercial rates in Thomas Street, Haymarket for our Sydney premises in 2015 and 2016. We have since moved from this location. This was not a political donation.”
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IELTS is a multi-million dollar industry with nearly 3 million candidates taking this test worldwide each year.
IELTS’ co-owner IDP generated revenue of nearly $487 million in 2018, its third consecutive growth year since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2015.
Mr Singh said that Greens have pledged to make English requirements within the reach of migrant communities.
“We’ve got a $50 million plan to increase the ability of migrants and new arrivals to Australia to access English language support.”
Buzz Aldrin is a former astronaut and, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, was one of the first men to walk on the moon.
Last month, Vice President Pence announced that we are headed back to the moon. I am with him, in spirit and aspiration. Having been there, I can say it is high time we returned. When Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and I went to the moon 50 years ago this July, we did so with a mission. Apollo 11 aimed to prove America’s can-do commitment to space exploration, as well as its national security and technological superiority. We did all that. We also “Came in Peace for all Mankind.” More of that is needed now.
Today, many nations have eyes for the moon, from China and Russia to friends in Europe and Middle East. That is all good. The United States should cooperate — and offer itself as a willing team leader — in exploring every aspect of the moon, from its geology and topography to its hydrology and cosmic history. In doing so, we can take “low-Earth orbit” cooperation to the moon, openly, eagerly and collegially.
Meanwhile, another looming orb — the red one — should become a serious focus of U.S. attention. Mars is waiting to be discovered, not by clever robots and rovers — though I support NASA’s unmanned missions — but by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women.
To make that happen, members of Congress, the Trump administration and the American public must care enough to make human exploration missions to Mars a national priority. To be clear, I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty. I mean something very different.
The United States’ eyes — and our unified commitment — should focus on opening the door, in our time, to the great migration of humankind to Mars. Books aplenty have been written about how to do this, and they have inspired government and non-government leaders to make lofty plans. But plans without a detailed architecture, and without that “next step” into the future, are just fantasy.
Americans are good at writing fantasy, and incomparable at making the fantastic a reality. We did it with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo — and in thousands of other ways. It is time we get down to blueprints, architecture and implementation, and to take that next step — a sustainable international return to the moon, directly charting a pathway to Mars.
The Trump administration and today’s Congress, inspired by an American public impatient for space leadership, could start this engine. The next step would build on our early lunar landings and establish permanent settlements on the moon. In the meantime, preparations for permanent migration to the red planet can be made. All of this is within reach for humans alive now, but it starts with a unified next step in space. The nation best poised to make it happen is the United States.
Just as President John F. Kennedy is remembered for starting our nation’s drive to the moon, where Neil and I left footprints, the Trump administration and this Congress would be remembered decades forward for putting humans permanently on the moon and Americans on Mars — for making human footprints in red dust and subsequent migration possible.
As matter of orbital mechanics, missions from Earth to Mars for migration are complex. That said, human nature — and potentially the ultimate survival of our species — demands humanity’s continued outward reach into the universe. Call it curiosity or calculation, strategic planning or destiny. Put simply: We explore, or we expire. That is why we must get on with it.
In a world of division and distraction, this mission is unifying — for all Americans and for all humankind. So, I am personally glad we are headed back to the moon — and I thank President Trump and the vice president for their commitment. But my eyes drift higher, to the red orb that, even now, awaits an American flag and plaque that reads: “We Come in Peace for All Mankind.”