Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia is considering adding a “values test” to the permanent residency application, in order to protect its successful multicultural society.
Prior to this, his citizenship and multicultural minister Alan Tudge floated the values test idea during the Australia/UK Leadership Forum:
“Our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path. Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing – such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged.”
During his speech in Tasmania on Friday, the prime minister supported Tudge’s idea and said that testing potential migrants on values made sense.
“One of the reasons we are is because we put an enormous amount of effort, in Australia, into integration, into ensuring that our form of multiculturalism is one where we can all benefit from the diversity of cultural and religious and ethnic backgrounds that Australians have.”
“This is a country where 28% of Australians were born outside of Australia, over half have a parent born outside of Australia – but isn’t it remarkable that we live together is so much harmony because of the values we share and those Australian values, of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, respect for women, equality between men and women.”
“All of these values are vitally important and we must never, ever take them for granted and we should always ensure that we maintain them because that is what creates this extraordinary successful multicultural society that we have.”
It should be interesting to find out how Tudge would formulate the values test considering that one’s personality attributes are shaped by one’s own culture and traditions. Moreover, how would Tudge define Australian values? What parameters would be used as benchmarks for the test results?
Last year the government’s attempt to tighten the policies on permanent residency application has been turned down by the Senate. Immigration has now become one of the critical issues tied to the upcoming elections.
The government is currently being pressured by the conservative members of its backbench and crossbench such as Pauline Hanson, to slow down Australia’s immigration rate in order to lessen population pressures in major cities.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been an active proponent of reducing the inflow of migrants citing its effects on employment, wage rates, and property prices.