He was the hero for the Wallabies on Sunday after booting a clutch penalty goal against South Africa – and now Quade Cooper is set to be finally granted his request for Australian citizenship.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has announced a major policy change in news the veteran fly-half will welcome with open arms.
New Zealand born Cooper, 33 – who moved to Australia with his family at the age of 13 – has previously seen his request for citizenship denied on four occasions.
Incredibly, Cooper’s latest application in July was rejected on the grounds he had failed to ‘engage in activities of benefit to Australia’.
That’s despite proudly playing 71 Tests in the iconic yellow jersey after making his Wallabies debut in 2008.
Quade Cooper kicks a match-winning penalty for the Wallabies against South Africa on Sunday – now his request for citizenship is finally set to be granted
The stumbling block Cooper faced was that, under the law, he couldn’t be abroad for more than 12 months in the four years before applying for citizenship.
His stint in Japanese rugby with club side Kintetsu Liners in 2020 and 2021 had rendered him ineligible, but that is finally set to change.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke provided hope for Cooper announced on Tuesday that he had instructed the Department of Home Affairs to be more flexible – opening the door for Cooper to officially become an Australian.
‘Australian citizenship is a rare privilege and it should not come easily,’ Mr Hawke said in a statement.
‘However, the unique work and travel demands on some of our most highly distinguished prospective Australians should not preclude them from making the cut.’
The change comes after Labor Senate leader Kristina Keneally labelled Cooper a ‘hero’ following his brilliance performance against the Springboks.
‘With everything on the line, he (Cooper) took on the responsibility and got the job done for his country and for his mates,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week.
‘Quade Cooper’s passport needs to match his jersey. He’s an Australian hero and he should be an Australian citizen.’
In July, Cooper said he was feeling ‘disheartened’ after being denied citizenship by authorities.
Former Wallabies star Quade Cooper has seen his application for Australian citizenship denied four times by authorities – that is set to change
Former rugby union star Quade Cooper (pictured, left with ex girlfriend Laura Dundovic) has called out the Australian government for refusing his application for citizenship
‘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 it (citizenship) wouldn’t be too hard a process, he told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
‘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.’
Cooper believes after giving his all to Australian Rugby at the peak of his career, he has earnt that right.
‘I think it would be a nice thing to officially call this (Australia) home,’ he said.
‘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.’
A frustrated Cooper took to Twitter, outlining his application was rejected after failing to engage in ‘activities of benefit to Australia’ or ‘any work requiring frequent travel outside of the country’ – he played 70 Tests for the Wallabies from 2008-2017
Earlier this year, a fed up Cooper publicly criticised the Australian government for refusing his application for citizenship.
Taking to Twitter, Cooper, 33, detailed the ‘awkward moment’ his citizenship application was denied.
With the screenshot of his rejection, Cooper wrote: ‘Awkward moment @ausgov refuse your citizenship application (again). Wearing the green and gold 70 times apparently is not enough these days…’
A formal response from the Home Affairs department stated Cooper failed to engage in ‘activities of benefit to Australia’ or ‘any work requiring frequent travel outside of the country.’
A bemused Cooper also included the bizarre response from the Department of Home Affairs in his tweet on Tuesday after submitting his form
Last April, Cooper split from bikini model Laura Dundović after five years together.
The couple began dating in 2014 after meeting through a mutual friend.
Cooper also was a talking point in 2020 when he revealed how a radical ‘carnivore diet’ left him in the best physical shape of his career.
His meal plan of bone broth, rib-eye steaks and oysters had given him more energy and the muscular physique he needs to play a contact sport at the elite level.
‘It does seem strange to a lot of people because what we are told is normal — ‘eat vegetables otherwise you can’t digest your food’ – I’ve had no problems whatsoever,’ Cooper said at the time.
He added he felt gassy and bloated eating more greens and before the diet was already phasing out vegetables before transitioning to the ‘carnivore diet’.
Quade Cooper (pictured) represented the Wallabies in 71 Tests – yet had has his application for Australian citizenship again denied
The citizenship requirement that tripped up Quade cooper
The Department of Home Affairs argues an applicant needs to engage in ‘activities deemed to be of benefit to Australia’.
They also cannot spend more than 12 months out of Australia before applying.
Wallabies star Quade Cooper wasn’t previously deemed eligible for citizenship because he spent large portions of 2020 and 2021 in Japan playing club rugby with Kintetsu Liners.
Four of his applications were refused under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
But his dream is finally set to be granted thanks to a policy tweak by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.