Changes to Australian citizenship to focus on what’s important to you

What are the "Australian Values" that you think people migrating to Australia need to understand?

There will be a bigger focus on “Australian values” under the changes that the Federal Government has announced for the Australian Citizenship test.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told the media that anyone coming to Australia with the intention of being a citizen will have to understand that the government is “putting Australian values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements.”

Mr Turnbull also told the media, “Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia”. 

On top of a more stringent English test, people applying for citizenship will have to prove that they have truly integrated into Australian society by joining clubs, having employment and any children enrolled in local schools. New citizens will be required to wait four years before they can apply opposed to the current one-year time limit if an applicant fails the citizenship test three times they will have to wait a further two years before they are allowed to take it again.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told the ABC, “Our country shouldn’t be embarrassed to say we want great people to call Australia home. We want people who abide by our laws and our values and we should expect nothing less”.

The Opposition says that some of the changes might be for political reasons. Labor’s Penny Wong told ABC AM, “This looks to me like the change you make when you want people to notice”.  She added, “One suspects that Malcolm Turnbull is having a much greater focus on Tony Abbott or perhaps One Nation than any real or substantive changes here.”

Ms Wong also stated that there is already a strict English test as part of the citizenship test but added, “If English grammar is the test, there might be a few members of parliament that may struggle”.

What do you think?  Do you think there should be other parts of the test to show “Australian Values”? 

  1. Mary  

    I think the idea of 4 years wait to apply for citizenship is good. I might add that I did not have to wait that long BUT I am English speaking! Four years gives a person ample time to learn the language. I cannot understand how a person can live in a country and not be able to speak the language. How can you understand the laws, road signs, shop properly, read a paper or book, keep up with the news, fill out a form, the list goes on. You certainly cannot integrate with your fellow Australians.

  2. Therese  

    I believe we should be addressing the issue that Australian Law is THE law and other customs and rites do not co-exist with Australian Law. The need to speak and understand English should be a no brainer. Criminal convictions within the waiting period should exclude the right to citizenship and returned to their country of origin List the deportable offences – one being a verbal rant that they (whoever) does not respect Australian Law. There are plenty of people wishing to resettle in Australia that we have the ability to be selective.
    The Oath of Allegiance during a Citizenship Ceremony also needs to be amended-it is very bland

  3. Truth13  

    Here we go again. When John Howard was scared of loosing the election he made up a story called, “Tampa”,
    to make the immigration issue the priority & not other things that were lagging. Suddenly Malcolm Turnbull is trying to bring another “TAMPA” immigration issue, as even blind Freddy knows, LNP is heading for a very bad loss at the next election. What he & the clown Dutton should explain are, what do they mean by “Australian Values”. One requirement is “Joining the Clubs”. What is the necessity of joining a club or clubs ? Is it to gamble on poker machines or drink till pissed ?. or eat & drink, finish the money & beg on the next day ?. Turnbull should put out the real figures of the immigration figures. He should tell the country, the current requirements to apply for a permanent visa to migrate to Australia. If those retirements are insufficient, why did the government had them all these years. Nearly half of Australians alive today were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. According to Turnbull & Dutton, does that mean they have no values ? Are they all non members of a club ?. In the decade from 2001 to 2011, the proportion of our overseas-born population who originate were from Europe, 40 per cent. Foreign-born Australians who were born in Asia increased to 33 per cent. It is well know fact, except the old parents, who never took up any employment, all of them went thorough the process in an Aust. Embassy, and came with proper qualifications. Turnbull & Dutton should put out the latest census figures to the public to show, whether they are unemployed, or well employed.At 30 June 2016, 28.5% of Australia’s estimated resident population (6.9 million people) was born overseas. Where did they come from ? The top 10 country by birth were UK, -1,198 000, New Zealand 607200,China 526 000, India 468 800, Philippines 246 400, Vietnam 236 700, Italy 194 900, South Africa 181 400, Malaysia 166 200, Germany124 300. Some were parents, some were as spouses, some were for the entertainment industry, and the other are well employed. Most countries in Asia, which were under the British rule, had very similar English education system, and English was one subject in their curriculum, and most of them had tertiary education & well employed. Not only that, their children too. Dutton wants migrants to abide by the laws. Are the fair dingkum Aussies do it ?. Why don’t he give a break down of prisoners, so that everyone can see who didn’t abide by the laws.Last week I read in the papers, a Muslim man married a 14 years old girl & he be charged. Then the whole nation saw, a 14 year old boy & 15 year old girl became parents. Without a piece of paper signed, both parties did the same. Why don’t Police charge the 14 years old, probably he had sex when he was 13+, and the girl at 14+. Why weren’t they charged for rape, visa versa. Is it only because there was no papers signed, or was it the “Australian value” ? Suddenly, Turnbull & Liberal party is trying to place the “Migration” card, to work up support. Is the migration the biggest problem facing the country now ?. Except few boat refugees, all others got the visa from an Australian Embassy, on their qualification, to receive it, and arrived here. There are bigger problems the country, other than migration now. Old people are struggling due to cuts to the pension, sick are waiting in the queues, disable are neglected, unemployment numbers up, young couples can’t afford to buy a place to call home with highest property prices in the world, big companies don’t pay the right tax or pay nothing, Banks are ripping the customers off, Energy & Gas prices have gone through the roof, school funding is cut, members of the Parliament have big pay rises & ripping the system off, Debt in the country is over a $Trillion, Credit-card debt is the highest in the world, low interest rates are killing the economy, mining has gone to the wall, country has no more industries or car manufacturing, medical insurance, car registration, CTP insurance is up, tolls up, fuel prices remain same as they were at the highest, etc. etc. and the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE COUNTRY NOW, ACCORDING TO MALCOLM TURNBULL IS IMMIGRATION. IF THERE WAS NO IMMIGRATION, THE COUNTRY WOULD HAVE BEEN RULED BY ABORIGINAL PEOPLE, AND COUNTRY WOULD NOT HAVE ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS. EXCEPT ABORIGINAL PEOPLE, ALL, REPEAT ALL, ARE MIGRANTS OR FROM MIGRANTS. GET REAL TURNBULL.

    • Sandy Balfour  

      Absolutely true – well said.

    • Ricardo Espinoza  

      Congratulations your comment is absolutely ” Bulls-eye ” well said, I really enjoy this article, you have 10 /10

  4. stnc  

    Back in the 60’s 70’s immigrants arrived from various country (Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia etc.) people who could barely speak of English. They worked like pack horses to save for a home and raise their kids. As kids we teased and stirred each other at school about our differences. Italians owned and ran the best restaurants , the Greeks had the fish shops and sold the best ever fish and chips. Multi-cultural food Australia didn’t really arrive until the late 70’s -80’s. I had never even heard about *Muslim people or Islam* other than through history classes or films etc. The all hell was let loose with the brutal beheading and murders, murders than the world didn’t seem to want to take action against. Then came the underground and bus bombings, the rail bombings in Spain, you know the ones more recently. English and comprehension classes could be supplied to non-English speaking immigrants, it wasn’t thought of when we arrived in Australia back in 1966. Deportation for those who resort to criminal behaviour, a little harder for those born here. The Government is the Government, so bloody govern. Deport entire families of immigrants, take a firm hand. Have a probationary period of immigrants of perhaps 5 years before residency is approved then another 5 years for citizenship, just a thought. But you can’t have a no fault clause for deportation, they at least deserve a reason. Screen with gusto anyone requesting immigration of potential hot spots. If what happens in Syria happened in Australia where are they going to go, Queensland? Maybe Donald has a point of refusing immigration from hostile country’s in the middle east.

  5. Jess  

    Immigrants/refugees applying for Australian citizenship should have lived here constantly (apart from reasonable overseas holidays/family emergencies) for at least 5 years. They should be able to speak good English. They should have been employed for the majority of their time in Australia. If they leave Australia to live/work overseas for more than 6 months, their citizenship should be revoked. Too many people have come here, obtained Aussie citizenship then returned to live and work in their country of origin, only returning to Australia for the occasional holiday or when the situation in their home country becomes a problem. After residing here for 5 years, people can apply for citizenship. For the following 12 months, they are spot checked without warning to ensure they are still employed and they are adhering to Aussie laws especially with regard to one wife of legal age and there is no evidence of domestic violence. Anyone who breaks the law for other than an occasional speeding fine should be deported. There could be valid exceptions to citizenship rules so of course people would have the right of appeal.
    I acknowledge there are many Muslims who have come to Australia for the right reasons and are making every effort to learn English and assimilate. Considering their laws and culture seem to be so widely open to interpretation resulting in conflict with our culture and laws, I cannot understand why those who fled their own countries, did not go to what are traditionally Muslim countries like Indonesia. I realise several Muslim countries do not accept Muslim refugees. If refugees want freedom and a better life, why do they bring with them, all the bad things they are allegedly trying to escape/overcome? Things like violence, stealing, religious limitations etc..
    I have spoken to several well assimilated refugees and immigrants who are similarly disappointed and frustrated at the level of lawlessness and non assimilation of their fellow countrymen. As they say, so many problems are well hidden within the various racial and religious communities.

  6. I agree, No More Muslims! If other Immigrants want to live here they should have to adhere to our cultural ways and speak English before settling here.It’s very ignorant and also embarrassing for us when they bustle around speaking their own languages in front of us. Also allowing so many immigrants into the country is causing problems for our own citizens to get jobs, housing etc. Our taxes keep getting put up and our pensions dropped to support them. UNFAIR!!!

    • stnc  

      So when do we start with the Greeks or the Italians, or do you mean religions, then when do we start with the Catholics , Buddhists, Anglicans? Muslims are a race not a religion, the religion is Islam.

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