Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge (pictured) has warned Australia is veering towards a “European separatist multicultural model”, flagging a rethink of immigration settings that could include new migrants being assessed against Australian values before being granted permanent residency.
The move is a step in the right direction and acknowledgement of the weakness of multicultural politics, as expressed by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi, who has labelled multiculturalism a "flawed and failing doctrine".
Senator Bernardi has told Sky News we should stand up for ther values that we believe are important and enduring.
In a landmark speech to a closed meeting of the Australia/UK Leadership Forum in London, Mr Tudge last night called for the nation to mount a “muscular” defence of Western liberal values and challenge the rise of identity politics, which was legitimising “practices and behaviours which should be deemed intolerable”.
“Hence, it takes years for some Western countries to even take a strong position against something as barbaric as female genital mutilation,” he said.
Mr Tudge flagged potential changes to the vetting process to elevate a values assessment for new entrants and said the current practice of granting permanent residency to about 100,000 migrants a year before “ever stepping foot in Australia” needed “further consideration”.
While hailing Australia’s integration model as uniquely successful in the world, it was now facing similar challenges to that of Britain, such as “ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged”.
“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,” he warned.
Mr Tudge, who is also the Multiculturalism Minister, repeated the Turnbull government’s commitment to an English language skills test for those seeking permanent residency and said that same principle should be extended to “values”.
“We place an emphasis on Australian values as the glue that holds the nation together,” he told the meeting.
“We do this through requiring people to sign a values statement before coming into Australia, satisfy a citizenship test and pledge allegiance before becoming a citizen.
“The weakness of this, however, is that we presently have few mechanisms to assess people against their signed statement.”
Mr Tudge said the broader and longer term problem facing Australia, and the West more broadly, was a cultural cringe in promoting a core set of values.
“We need muscular ongoing promotion of our values: of freedom of speech and worship, equality between sexes, democracy and the rule of law, a fair go for all, the taking of individual responsibility,’’ he said.
The implication of not acting was that Australia risked capitulating to a crisis of values in the West more broadly.
“We need to be confident enough in these values to call out practices which are contradictory to them, even if those practices are the ‘culture’ of a particular group,” he said.
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