Former Wallabies star Quade Cooper says he is disheartened after being denied Australian citizenship four times since 2015.
Cooper made headlines earlier this month when he took to Twitter to reveal that he had been denied an Australian passport, despite representing the Wallabies in 70 tests between 2008 and 2017.
“Awkward moment @ausgov refuse your citizenship applications (again),” Cooper wrote in a message aimed at an employee of the Department of Home Affairs.
“Wearing the green and gold [jersey] 70 times apparently is not enough these days.. Cheers Shannon.”
Born in Auckland and raised in Tokoroa, the 33-year-old, who played at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, moved to Brisbane as a 13-year-old.
However, the Department of Home Affairs deemed that Cooper is not a “persons engaging in activities of benefit to Australia”, nor is he a “persons engaged in particular kinds of work requiring regular travel outside of Australia”.
Speaking to the ABC, Cooper described his inability to granted citizenship as “a little bit disheartening” as he claimed he has been denied an Australian passport four times in the past six years.
“You can call me naïve, but when you’ve been out representing your country on the world stage … you just expect when the time comes to it [citizenship] wouldn’t be too hard a process,” he told the ABC.
“When you are standing in the stadium, the [national] anthem is going and you look out into the crowd and you see all the support … it’s hard not to feel Australian.”
According to the Daily Mail, successful applicants must have been in Australia for the past four years, which includes not being absent from the country for more than “12 months in total in the four-year period, including no more than 90 days in total in the 12-month period prior to application”.
Cooper’s application was reportedly rejected because he has chosen to play professional rugby abroad, including in Japan with the Kintetsu Liners for the past two years.
That didn’t stop the playmaker from labelling Australia as “home” following his services for the Wallabies and his contributions to Australian rugby.
— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) July 13, 2021
“I think it would be a nice thing to officially call this [Australia] home,” Cooper told the ABC.
“I come home here every time I leave the country — this is where I come, this is where I earnt a living most of my career, this is where I have a home — the memories I’ve been able to create. This is home.”
In addition to his 70 tests for the Wallabies, Cooper more than 110 appearances for the Queensland Reds between 2006 and 2017 and played an integral role in guiding the Brisbane-based franchise to its inaugural title in 2011.
He also turned out for the Melbourne Rebels during the 2019 Super Rugby season and played for the Australian sevens team in the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, Cooper was omitted from the national sevens side as he was ineligible to represent Australia at the Olympics due to the fact he didn’t hold an Australian passport.
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