Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton speak during a press conference at Parliament House
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton speak during a press conference at Parliament House AAP Image/Lukas Coch

'Can you strike your spouse?': Our new citizenship test

IMMIGRANTS wanting to become Australians will be asked tough new questions like "can you strike your spouse in the privacy of your home?" created to specifically weed out terrorists, wife beaters and criminals.

The wideranging shake-up to the citizenship test which will also include strict new English language ­requirements.

Two days after abolishing the controversial 457 visa, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today announce a new test that puts "Australian values at the heart of citizenship process". The new rules will require applicants to pass an English reading, writing and listening test and include more "meaningful" questions to assess whether they are committed to "shared values and ­responsibilities".

Other "sample questions" provided to The Daily Telegraph include "does Australia's principle of freedom of ­religion mean that in some situations it is permissible to force children to marry?" and "under what circumstances is it appropriate to prohibit girls from education?"

A photo of an Australian citizenship ceremony held in Gympie.
A photo of an Australian citizenship ceremony held in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Mr Turnbull, who has been trailing in the polls for 13 months, said the government was "putting Australian values at the heart of citizenship".

"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," he said. "We must ensure that our citizenship ­program is conducted in our national interest.

"Any conduct that is inconsistent with Australian values will be considered as part of this process.

"Criminal activity, including family violence or involvement in organised crime, is thoroughly inconsistent with Australian values."

Luka Kauzlaric

The new test, to weed out conduct inconsistent with Australian values, could also include questions about criminal activities, violence against women and children, and involvement with gangs or organised crime. Those questions will be put to public ­consultation.

The proposed changes will also mean permanent residents will have to wait four years before applying for ­citizenship.

The current system requires a one- year wait.

Applicants will also have to prove what steps those permanent residents have taken to contribute to the community, including evidence of employment and schooling.

Applicants who fail the test three times will have to wait two years before they can try again - currently there is no limit.

And any cheating will result in an automatic failure.

The announcement comes as One Nation and conservative independent Cory Bernardi moved to take credit for the Turnbull government's increasingly tough stance on temporary foreign workers and immigration.

The Saturday Telegraph revealed in November that the citizenship test was going to be overhauled.

It came after high-level meetings were convened to discuss how to ­remove failed migrants. In some cases, they had become some of the country's worst criminals.

***FILE*** A Nov. 10, 2009 file image of Sheikh Man Haron Monis, believed to be the gunman behind the Lindt Cafe siege in Martin Place, Sydney is seen bound in chains and holding an Australian flag outside Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. The long-running inquest into the deadly Lindt cafe siege has wrapped up its public hearings in Sydney, with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione the last witness to give evidence. (AAP Image/Sergio Dionisio) NO ARCHIVING
***FILE*** A Nov. 10, 2009 file image of Sheikh Man Haron Monis, believed to be the gunman behind the Lindt Cafe siege in Martin Place, Sydney is seen bound in chains and holding an Australian flag outside Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. The long-running inquest into the deadly Lindt cafe siege has wrapped up its public hearings in Sydney, with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione the last witness to give evidence. (AAP Image/Sergio Dionisio) NO ARCHIVING SERGIO DIONISO

Lindt siege terrorist Man Haron Monis arrived from Iran on a one month visa in 1996 and, despite ongoing security concerns, was able to gain citizenship in 2004.

The current citizenship test was introduced by the Howard government in 2006, with multiple choice questions on Australian history, democracy, the government and the law.

The most recent Immigration ­Department statistics show 136,572 people drawn from 210 countries ­became citizens drawn in the 12 months ending June 2015.

More than 17.5 per cent, or 24,236 were from India followed by Britain, with 20,583 and the Philippines, with 8996.

Of the 114,109 who sat the citizenship test, 98.6 per cent passed with an average of 1.2 attempts.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said "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," he said.

News Corp Australia


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