Australian politicians plan to pass a bill that would make immigrants take an “Australian values” test and have a higher level of English proficiency as a precondition to citizenship, Reuters reported Thursday.
“What we are doing is strengthening our multicultural society and strengthening our values,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in the Australian capital of Canberra. “Australian citizenship should be honored, cherished. It’s a privilege.”
The bill is expected to pass through Parliament and become law.
As part of the initiative, the multiple-choice test that quizzed applicants on “Australian laws, national symbols and colors of the Aboriginal flag” would be replaced with a more thorough test on Australian values.
“If we believe that respect for women and children and saying no to violence … is an Australian value, and it is, then why should that not be made a key part, a fundamental part, a very prominent part, of our process to be an Australian citizen? Why should the test simply be a checklist of civic questions?” Turnbull said, in a comment not-so-subtly aimed at traditional Islam’s subjugation of women and the extremist threat of terrorism.
“We’re standing up for Australian values and the parliament should do so too,” he added.
The test would also move from requiring basic English to at least a 6.0 equivalent on the International English Language Testing System. In addition, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, it would require citizenship applicants to have lived in the country for at least four years, up from one.
“We’re catching up with the rest of the world,” Turnbull said, noting that the United States requires five years and Germany requires eight. Turnbull said the increased period would give immigrants “more time to integrate to be part of the Australian community” before applying for citizenship.
Unlimited immigration advocates, especially liberals, are going to be vehemently against this proposal, but why shouldn’t a society stick up for its values?
In fact, I know a lot of people in America who wish we would take a page from Australia’s book.
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree with Turnbull’s proposal.