We fully support Russell Crowe’s quest for Australian citizenship.
Russell has recently said that Australia is “the country I choose to live in” and expressed disappointment about his inability to get Australian citizenship (Sydney Morning Herald, 27 June).
But, from our reading of the article, Russell might be looking at the matter only through the lens of being a New Zealand citizen.
It might still take some time, but there is another way. This would depend in part on choices made by Russell.
That is, for him to first become an Australian permanent resident (as distinct from the 444 visas automatically held by many Kiwis) and then later get to citizenship that way.
This is because Russell clearly has a spectacular record of achievement in the arts. Immigration laws make specific provisions for such high achievers. Proving such a thing puts him head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. He also can readily put forward convincing arguments that he would be an asset to the Australian community, and that he would have no difficulty in obtaining employment in Australia as an actor – he has already proved he can do this, over and over.
One of the rules requires support for the visa application from a famous Australian actor. And there is one who stands out. With the gentlest persuasion we reckon Cate Blanchett would take up the cause.
Once Russell has that visa, he is a huge step ahead of other Kiwis. But, there will still be a snag: he needs to get to the point where he has accumulated 36 months physically in Australia in a 4 year period, including at least 9 months after the visa grant.
With all the time he spends filming overseas, that might just be a bridge too far. That’s up to Russell.
Otherwise, at the stroke of a pen and without much ado, the new Minister could sign into law an “instrument” to cater for high achievers like Russell: for people who, despite being great ambassadors for Australia, have stellar international careers constantly requiring their presence offshore. At this point, maybe the roar of the crowd, “Maximus! Maximus!” might make the difference? Perhaps the Minister could be persuaded, by people power, to pick up that pen?