Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered what he hopes will be a small fillip to his flagging fortunes by means of a tougher citizenship process. Instead of having to wait one year, migrants will have to wait four years, and will have to demonstrate they are fluent in English (how will this affect some of the knuckledraggers who cannot spell or punctuate to save their lives?). Also, laughably, prospective migrants will have to undergo a written test on Australian ‘values’1. What they expect people to do when confronted by questions the answers to which might bar them from citizenship, is anybody’s guess. If you were asked the question, ‘do you support female genital mutilation’ (FGM) even a crazy supporter of FGM will answer no. By the way, why is it only female genital mutilation? Why not male genital mutilation? Oh, I forgot; while that is a Muslim practice, it is also a Jewish practice, so that makes it OK.
This citizenship is simply Turnbull’s push to drag some disenchanted right-wingers back from supporting Hanson’s One Nation, in the hope that they will support the Liberals and Nationals rather than buffoons like Bernardi’s conservative religious nutters. It is also presumably in the hope that they will support him and not the religious right wing nut jobs of the Liberal Party (Dutton, Abbott, Andrews, Abetz etc.). Adopting policies like those of One Nation was a tactic used by John Howard in his successful rout of One Nation some 20 years ago. In addition to such a tactic, Tony Abbott established a trust fund entitled ‘Australian for Honest Politics’ to bankroll a civil court case against One Nation and Hanson2. The irony of Abbott setting up something with the word ‘honest’ in it was probably lost on him, probably the most egregious liar there has ever been in Federal Parliament.
One has to wonder what constitutes Australian ‘values’. Given that our politicians are, on average, some of the most unpleasant, self-aggrandising, venal, lying bunch of charlatans I have ever seen in Federal Parliament over more than 40 years of observation, it is hoped that these ‘values’ are not modelled on those exhibited by our current crop of representatives. In defence of his tightening of the rules, Turnbull stated that the vast majority of Australians were pleased to see politicians “standing up for Australian values”3. If only politicians behaved like they meant it.