During a recent speech at the Menzies Research Centre, Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge has stated his argument regarding Australia’s multiculturalism and challenge on integration.
Although he agreed that Australia is a successful multicultural nation, he warned that the achievement cannot be taken for granted.
His comments have triggered debates as the Federal Government plans to re-launch the new citizenship policies which will include a university level English Language testing for new migrants.
“We would like to see stronger English language requirements for permanent residency and citizenship,” he said.
“This should be assessed through a separate test, in addition to the written citizenship test. The current citizenship test, while in English, only assesses reading comprehension; and not the speaking, listening or writing of English.”
“All are important. Ultimately, this is beneficial to the newly arrived migrant, who, let’s not forget has taken huge risks in coming to a new country, with the aspiration of succeeding in their new life.”
Mr Tudge also says Australians should encourage migrants to integrate into the local community.
He called for greater emphasis should be put in place to ensure migrants’ commitment to Australian values including religious freedom, rule of law and equality of sexes.
“We presently do character assessments, and we have a values statement that must be signed for most visas and citizenship applications,” he said.
“But there is an opportunity to have a stronger values statement which a person agrees to upon entry to the country and is assessed against before gaining full access to Australia’s rights and privileges.”
Locally, multicultural groups expressed their opposition towards the new English Tests, saying it does not help integration.
Ethnic Community Council Of WA spokesman, Sujesh Rajan believes the policy of exempt USA, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the UK migrants from English Test is a ‘White Australia Policy’.
“What they are requiring people to do is to have an English Test puts them eligible for a student visa at one of our universities, that is entirely inappropriate,” he said.
“… The other thing we have to be concerned about in regards to the English Test, is that English Test do not apply to people from the UK, from New Zealand, Canada, and America.”
“This is nothing more than another ‘White Australia Policy’ all over again.”
The Turnbull Government is still negotiating with independent Senators in-order to secure enough numbers to pass the new measures in the Senate.