Saturday 3 December 2016

Irish language spoken for the first time in Australian parliament

Published 11/07/2013 | 16:15

Jensen Family
Jensen Family

The Irish language has made it into an official speech in the Australian parliament, cementing the influence of thousands of Irish immigrants.

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Liberal MP Dennis Jensen quoted an Irish proverb in his speech against the government’s 457 visa bill.

Mr Jensen stated; “Unwarranted additional regulation of the 457 visa scheme has risks. The minister would do well to remember the words that I am sure he was taught at the Christian Brothers in Kerry: ‘Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb’.”

The proverb, which he clarified means “desperate political stunts backfire”, was a double-barrelled dig at the minister, who has Irish parents. “I thought it was appropriate to use Irish, given the minister’s heritage is Irish,” Jensen said.

Mr Jensen was coached on the pronunciation by an Irish staff member, he confirmed.

The newly-passed 457 Visa bill gives Irish workers 90 days instead of 28 in which to find work. However, an amendment to the bill, passed in Canberra, means employers must now prove that they tried to source Australian workers for up to four months before hiring foreign workers, which could make it harder for Irish nationals to find work in Australia.

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