Acting Federal Minister of Immigration Alan Tudge said that due to the CCP virus (Wuhan pneumonia) pandemic and the interference of foreign propaganda on Australia’s democratic society, which poses challenges to social cohesion, Australia should be stricter on those who aspire to become citizens. The values require that permanent residents and citizens with poor English proficiency should be provided with unlimited free English courses to improve their English proficiency and better integrate into society.
In a speech at the National Press Club on Friday, Taji revealed a government plan for new immigrants regarding Australia’s democratic values.
He said: "Our common values-democracy, commitment to the rule of law, freedom of speech and association, mutual respect, equal opportunities and personal responsibility are the foundation of our modern society, just like the values of'fairness' that we agree with. "We should ensure that those who come here and want to settle here clearly understand and are willing to commit to the common values that unite us all as Australians."
He said that as part of the renewed emphasis on "liberal and democratic values," those who wish to become permanent residents should sign a strengthened value statement.
Taji also said that in order for new immigrants to better work in Australia and integrate into Australian life, including participation in democracy, the government will carry out major reforms to the A$10 billion Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and cancel the provision of 510 hours for new immigrants. Free English courses are restricted to study, and free courses are provided for unlimited time until those permanent residents and citizens with poor English proficiency reach professional level.
According to the 2016 census data, new immigrants only completed an average of 300 hours of free English courses, and only 21% of them reached the level of practical English.
Taji believes that if new immigrants have poor English proficiency, they will rely more on information sources in their mother tongue, which may have a major impact and challenge on Australia's values and social cohesion.
He said: "I am particularly worried about the entry of some foreign national forces into our multicultural community."
The Australian newspaper said in its report that although Taji did not directly refer to the CCP authorities, the Australian government believes that the CCP's interference with the Chinese community in Australia through social media is increasing.
Taji said: "The members of our diverse community are both victims of interference and used as a medium for foreign interference."
In addition, he also believes that poor English proficiency can easily exploit new immigrants.
Taji said the government has no intention of restoring the controversial citizenship legislation that requires strict English standards, but hopes to expand English training for new immigrants.
In the past year, a record 20 people became Australian citizens.
Editor in charge: Lin Shan