Senator proposes a tough new citizenship test

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm is proposing controversial new citizenship tests with a range of questions.
Senator David Leyonhjelm is proposing a new citizenship test. Source: Liberal Democrats (Australia)/YouTube

As you’ve probably heard, there’s been a lot of debate and discussion about changing Australia’s citizenship tests.

At the moment the citizenship test consists of questions about Australia’s government and justice systems.

But many politicians and other commentators have argued the test is too easy and want it to focus on more people’s ability to integrate into society.

It’s a plan that has been discussed by many politicians including Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and One Nation senator Pauline Hanson, and now Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm is weighing into the debate.

He’s proposing a new citizenship test with questions that focus more on people’s beliefs than their knowledge of Australia.

Senator Leyonhjelm told NewsCorp he believed there needed to be “extreme vetting” of applicants for citizenship.

“It is only citizens who elect our government and determine what kind of society we create,” he said.

“We should therefore only grant citizenship, and the rights that come with it, to those who have contributed to and assimilated into our society, and who share our values.”

He’s provided a list of his questions, which have been published by NewsCorp and they’re getting plenty of attention.

The questions are:

1. Should there be a law banning slavery?

2. Should tax obligations differ depending on a person’s religion?

3. Should there be a law banning female circumcision?

4. Should there be a law banning women from:

– voting?

– being elected to government?

– driving?

– showing her head hair, arms or legs in public?

5. Should there be a law banning a husband from:

– hitting his wife?

– having sex with his wife without the wife’s consent?

6. Should there be a law banning a wife from:

– leaving the home against the wishes of the husband?

– driving against the wishes of the husband?

– showing her head hair, arms or legs in public against the wishes of the husband?

7. Should there be a law banning adults from:

– drinking alcohol?

– gambling?

– having sex with a child?

– having sex outside marriage?

– holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex in public?

– homosexual acts and relationships?

– owning or viewing pornography?

8. Should there be a law banning children being married?

9. Should there be a law banning a person from refusing to marry according to a parent’s instruction?

10. Should there be a law banning divorce?

11. Where a mother and father of a child are not married, should there be a law granting custody to the father?

12. Should there be a law giving preference to men over women regarding the receipt of inheritances?

13. Should there be a law banning the schooling of boys and girls in the same class room?

14. Should there be a law banning:

– the charging of interest on loans?

– people abandoning their religion?

– blasphemy?


15. Should the punishment for killing be reduced if the killer says it was done for family honour?


So, how do you know what the right answers are?

Well, Leyonhjelm provided NewsCorp with those too.

1. Yes

2. No

3. Yes

4. No

5. Yes

6. No

7. No, except for 7(iii) Yes

8. Yes

9. No

10. No

11. No

12. No

13. No

14. No

15. No


Controversially, he is also arguing that only those who pass the test should be given welfare.

But his citizenship test and comments about welfare have been slammed by some.

Australian Council of Social Services CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie told NewsCorp that Senator Leyonhjelm’s proposal would “take us back to 1909”.

“Australia has the most targeted system of income support in the world and there are already strict rules around eligibility for payments,” she said.

“This proposal would take us back to 1909 when people had to show they were of ‘good character’ to get a pension and automatically exclude large numbers of people from social security and throw them into destitution.”

What do you think? Do you agree with Senator Leyonhjelm’s proposed citizenship test? Would you pass?



  1. Rosanne Newton  

    I am not a fan of Senator Leyonhjelm but his test seems fair.

    • David Barker  

      Leyonhjelm has obviously not heard that the Koran encourages dissembling and lying to advance Islam.
      So the “refugee’s” would all put in the right answers, and enter welfare paradise.
      His proposal points to the fact that any halfwit, if well organised, can get a Senate Seat, a fantastic wage, a generous pension and media attention.
      New Zealand abolished their Upper House in 1950, and no-one has missed it, or called for its return….No-One!!

  2. Guy Flavell  

    Yes, I’d pass. All of these questions make a lot of sense when vetting new immigrants
    to this country. They would definitely indicate to potential Middle-Eastern migrants that
    the citizens of this country will not accept Sharia laws which are a total abomination.
    I would go one step further and insist that potential migrants from these countries swear
    an oath of total denial of Sharia laws and if this oath is breached it would result in immediate
    deportation for the entire family.

  3. desleigh clarke  

    Absolutely agree, about time something was done about these people before it gets out of hand, (already verging on this) & the do-gooders can pull their heads in and get with the real world.(or maybe they could have some of them come &live with them??) That way there could be housing for single Mums & women escaping abuse would not have to live in cars.

  4. Chris  

    I am not a fan of this Senator either, but I do agree with the test. However, wouldnt a would be immigrant be able to cheat if they knew the questions and what the answers should be? This sort of stuff always gets leaked to the public somehow. Hopefully, if this idea comes to fruition, there will also be some way to stop cheating.

    • J Rose  

      Reasonably simple to deter cheating, in fact I believe it is already Federal law, that should the naturalized citizen breach Australian law, and be convicted, once they serve jail time they get deported.

    • Susan  

      Of course they would,my of are so right about this, they get primed by these agencies, it goes on now !

  5. Truth 13  

    Did his parents know English, when they migrated “by boat” to Australia from Sweden ?. Probably not. Why weren’t they were deported as “Boat people” ? or locked up in Nauru ? or Manus Island ?. He is nothing but a joke.

    • Charles  

      HIS PARENTS MIGRATED LAWFULLY and assimilated into our society, wanker.

  6. Dale Hennessy  

    It’s already been leaked!!! And it would only take one person to tell everybody else what the questions were. If you were one of the few that would be considered “undesirable” by a bunch of bigots and hypocrites, I think it would be quite easy to write “no” instead of “yes”!!! A six year old could work that one out!!!
    What stupid questions and the people who are on this site and have said this is a good idea……,, seriously???????? Incredible !!! Uneducated, easily swayed by “pub culture”, . All I can say is echo the words of a great writer, years ago …..”Poor fella my country”.
    Obviously never read Any of Hitler’s publications….. which went down exactly the same path.

    • Elaine Henderson  

      Well said Dale. I cannot believe some of the responses by so-called Australians. Why don’t we just impose a trump-like ban on all Muslims, because that’s what these people really want. I am ashamed of this country and it’s racist attitudes.

  7. 5th Gen Australian  

    These questions and his attitude show he is an ignorant bigot. Unfortunately without proper research too many people make a quick decision to agree with him. This is an insult to the vast majority of loyal Australians from migrant backgrounds. There are just as many descendants of first fleeter, convict arrivals and early settlers with the attitudes he hopes to wipe out. Let’s get domestic violence sorted out before a citizenship test. Or better still get all citizens who haven’t done the current test to do it. In fact has he consulted with the descendants of the original people? No of course not.

    • Di  

      “Unfortunately without proper research too many people make a quick decision to agree with him”. Are you serious? That is a statement from an incredibly uneducated person on world issues and outcomes. Tell me you believe in female circumcision – or is this just another hysterical millennial rant.

  8. Irene Friend  

    I think this is an absolute joke. He is a joke. He wants to take a look around and see how this could apply to a lot of Australians. Domestic violence in this country is out hand. I do not agree with the burkas, but I do not see the problem with women keeping their body covered. Sharia law should not be allowed, every citizen of our great country should obey our laws. As for integration, I am sure our esteemed Senator must remember refugees after the WW11. They lived in enclaves of their own nationalities, since this times they have married Australians and our society is truly multicutural. There are things that are different in all cultures including ours, but the majority of Australians are not anti Muslim. We should look more closely at ourselves, we cannot manage to integrate our Australian Aboriginal people. A lot of the problems in this country are caused by scare mongering by racists and bigots.

    • Silva  

      I do not believe that most people who exhibit some fear and antagonism towards Muslims are racist or bigots. There are too many examples of Muslims behaving abominably not to have some reservations toward them. Of course not all Muslims are terrorists, unfortunately most terrorists profess to be following the Islamic religion. The question remains: is Islam and its tenets and Shariah laws a religion to be respected or is it an ideology to be feared? The way that Islam is practiced (no criticism allowed and one cannot leave the religion without dire repercussions together with an antiquated culture) makes it very difficult to have a peaceful discussion to try to eliminate misunderstandings and assist Muslims to suspend Islam and absorb other cultures.
      To top it if the Quran and the other tenets of the religion are understood correctly the religion is to be practiced with forceful conversions. Can anyone see why Islam is mostly not welcomed?

  9. Rod Tonkin  

    I’m a sixth generation Australian whose family tree proudly lists smugglers and pirates . Some of my immediate ancestors served this this country in the two world wars. I’ve worn the uniform of the Army Reserve. (CMF in those days) I find Senator Leyonhjelm’s proposals an insult to the prospective Australian citizens. We should take people as they are and let them grow and enhance our culture, not dictate they adhere to our imperfect society.

  10. Richard Milligan, Bundaberg  

    This “man”? Needs to do research on who makes up Australia. We’re all immigrants, except for the indigenous peoples. & that Muslims have been here far longer than “his peoples” After all they helped open up this country in the early years of western exploration. So we all should remember that we’re all “Australians”. The ancient, the not so new, the new, & the future new. Whether Catholic, Presbyterian, C of E, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, or any of the numerous religions that abound this great country, after all murderers, rapists, & criminals are not exclusive to one particular religion or sect. What are these “so called” Aussies afraid of?

  11. Robin Henry  

    People can practise the answers and will write the responses they think we want to hear. Their friends will tell them in advance what to answer. Anyone who subscribes to Islam (and a couple of other cultures) will subscribe to the practices inherent in that ideology/culture. If I did a test in Iran and was asked, “Do you think we should hang people from cranes because someone thinks they are homosexuals?” what do you think I’d answer? Yes of course, because I know that’s what they do.

    We’d be better off focusing on immigrants who are from ours or a similar culture and not preference those from religions that haven’t yet dropped their evil aspects. How a questionnaire can assess someone’s ability to fit in and contribute is anyone’s guess..

    • Guy Flavell  

      THE most sensible response to this article. Well said Robin.

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