Australia Plans To Tighten Rules For Citizenship

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was a close ally of Tony Abbott

Migrants could be asked whether they support female genital mutilation and forced marriages, or whether it's acceptable to strike a spouse at home, under proposed values-based citizenship test questions to be put to the public for feedback.

"We don't define ourselves, like many other countries do, by race or religion or ethnicity", he said.

'The values of modern Australia - and I hope you agree with this - certainly assert that men and women are equal, it's our values, it's the law of our land and it's in our DNA, ' he told the ABC.

She asked him to explain what Australian values are.

"But at the same time we're putting an obligation on ourselves as a government and as a community to put more focus on training and providing the upgrading of skills of our own domestic workforce so they can fill more of these jobs".

The Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday that, 10 days before the July 2 election, the Liberal Party polled 400 people in Mr Abbott's seat and found he could lose his seat to independent James Mathison, Labor or Nick Xenophon Team candidate Marie Rowland.

"I'm disappointed that you're so cynical but I'm used to it", Mr Turnbull said.

"I can run you through the opinion polls if you like, given you set them as a benchmark yourself", Sales shot back.

"We're catching up with the rest of the world", he added, citing the waiting time of five years to become a U.S. citizen, and eight years in Germany.

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The "no" campaign said it faced intimidation and threats of violence, while opposition figures and journalists were jailed. It would dispense with the prime minister's post and centralise the executive bureaucracy under the president.

Australia wants to make it harder to become a citizen.

"However, this wish to become an Australian citizen has been undermined by a citizenship test process which sees much higher failure rates for former refugees than applicants who have come on migration visas". "Is that the sort of Australian we're happy to miss out on?"

NSW party sources say it was the efforts of Mr Turnbull and others which saved Mr Abbott.

Budding Australian citizens would have to be competent English-language speakers and have been permanent residents for at least four years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the new citizenship test would reflect Australian values instead of the current multiple-choice format. "That's what I'm doing", he said.

Sales didn't respond to the quip. "This will be good for the applicants, and good for the nation", Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull needs to reflect carefully on how that was achieved, on why is that Australia has been more successful than some European nations which have treated groups of migrants as long-term guest workers with no serious role in national life.

The prime minister announced the policy changes on Thursday saying he would "strengthen Australian citizenship by putting Australian values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements".

"Totally unfair. Ridiculous thing to say", he said. "What people should demonstrate is that they're engaged and integrated with the Australian community". "I'm not interested in personalities or politics of that kind".

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