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Peter Dutton to push on with citizenship changes

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is watering down his proposed citizenship changes but not his political attacks after suffering a bruising defeat in the Senate.

He wants to extend the waiting time for permanent residents to apply for citizenship, to create tougher English language tests and to give himself additional powers.

The measures were tossed out of the Australian Senate on Wednesday night after the government failed to meet a deadline to bring legislation on for debate.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) is watering down his proposed citizenship changes but not his political attacks after suffering a bruising defeat in the Senate

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) is watering down his proposed citizenship changes but not his political attacks after suffering a bruising defeat in the Senate

Mr Dutton signalled on Thursday he was willing to cede some ground in negotiations with the cross bench.

The government initially wanted to lift English requirements from 'basic' to 'competent'.

The 'competent' level would require aspiring citizens to understand fairly complex language and have an effective grasp of English.

Mr Dutton has agreed to accept a 'modest' level, meaning would-be Australians must be able to handle basic communication.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke (pictured) said the bill was 'an appalling policy, the likes of which we haven't seen since the White Australia policy'

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke (pictured) said the bill was 'an appalling policy, the likes of which we haven't seen since the White Australia policy'

That level would require only a partial command of the language, while making many mistakes.

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