More than 650,000 people have tried their hand at Australia’s online citizenship test – a mix of questions on settlement dates, the colours of the Aboriginal flag and freedom of speech, over the past eight years.
But as the Abbott government looks for ways to counter growing radicalisation on home soil, the Australian citizenship could see itself being tightened with more questions based on allegiance to the country, unifying values and the rule of law, according to The Australian.
Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, now leading the prime minister’s taskforce on citizenship, and leading the national debate on the issue, said new citizens had to understand that becoming Australia was a “two-way street”.
“We respect people’s diversity, we respect their heritage, we respect their religion but all we ask is that people recognise there are certain core values that enable our society to work, and we’re not about to walk away from those,” he told The Australian.
While the current test only asks for a ‘basic knowledge of the English language’ and an ‘adequate knowledge of Australia’, a revamped test could bring about an overhaul of the citizenship pledge, standardised English requirements and a greater focus on the responsibilities and privileges of being Australian.
“The words of the citizenship pledge must mean something,” said prime minister Tony Abbott. “This is the discussion we need to have.”
Last week the prime minister announced plans to strip dual citizens of Australian citizenship if they are involved in overseas terrorism-related activities.
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