Want welfare? Can you pass the Senator's test?
IMMIGRANTS to Australia should be subjected to an "extreme vetting" test before they become citizens or receive welfare, according to a radical proposal by libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Senator Leyonhjelm has put together a 15 question test that he believes will weed out those who do not share Australian values, including questions on attitudes towards women, child sex and blasphemy.
Senator Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat senator for NSW, does not mention any nationality or religion specifically, however he does openly emulate the "extreme vetting" approach taken by the new Trump administration for asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island as well as seven Muslim-majority countries.
"I believe we should apply extreme vetting to applicants for citizenship," he told news.com.au.
"It is only citizens who elect our government and determine what kind of society we create. We should therefore only grant citizenship, and the rights that come with it, to those who have contributed to and assimilated into our society, and who share our values."
The questions include:
Should there be a law banning female circumcision?
Should there be a law banning a wife from leaving the home against the wishes of the husband?
Should there be a law banning adults from homosexual acts and relationships?
Should there be a law banning blasphemy?
Should the punishment for killing be reduced if the killer says it was done for family honour?
While the answer to some might seem obvious, others are more nuanced.
For example, last month it was revealed the Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammed made a submission to a parliamentary inquiry that the controversial Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act should be "strengthened" to prohibit religious vilification of Muslims and other believers.
Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson told The Australian at the time: "Effectively that would mean Australia has a national blasphemy law because criticising someone's religious beliefs in a way that offended them could breach the law."
Senator Leyonhjelm also proposed that welfare should be reserved for citizens only, meaning that only those who passed the test could receive welfare payments.
"Raising the bar on citizenship would lead to Australians being more accepting of immigration, particularly if access to welfare was reserved for citizens," he said.
"It would show that anyone arriving in Australia does not automatically become an Australian or gain access to taxpayer-funded services."
Australian Council of Social Services CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: "A proposal that only citizens could be entitled to income support would likely be in breach of the right to social security and grossly undermines our social safety net.
"As a wealthy country, we have an obligation to ensure that all people, including children, are not in poverty. Australia has the most targeted system of income support in the world and there are already strict rules around eligibility for payments.
"This proposal would take us back to 1909 when people had to show they were of 'good character' to get a pension and automatically exclude large numbers of people from social security and throw them into destitution.
"Our political leaders should instead be discussing how to increase Newstart, which would be the single most effective measure to reducing poverty in this country."
David Leyonhjelm. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
The full test is below with proposed answers below that.
1. Should there be a law banning slavery?
2. Should tax obligations differ depending on a person's religion?
3. Should there be a law banning female circumcision?
4. Should there be a law banning women from:
- being elected to government?
- showing her head hair, arms or legs in public?
5. Should there be a law banning a husband from:
- hitting his wife?
- having sex with his wife without the wife's consent?
6. Should there be a law banning a wife from:
- leaving the home against the wishes of the husband?
- driving against the wishes of the husband?
- showing her head hair, arms or legs in public against the wishes of the husband?
7. Should there be a law banning adults from:
- drinking alcohol?
- having sex with a child?
- having sex outside marriage?
- holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex in public?
- homosexual acts and relationships?
- owning or viewing pornography?
8. Should there be a law banning children being married?
9. Should there be a law banning a person from refusing to marry according to a parent's instruction?
10. Should there be a law banning divorce?
11. Where a mother and father of a child are not married, should there be a law granting custody to the father?
12. Should there be a law giving preference to men over women regarding the receipt of inheritances?
13. Should there be a law banning the schooling of boys and girls in the same class room?
14. Should there be a law banning:
- the charging of interest on loans?
- people abandoning their religion?
15. Should the punishment for killing be reduced if the killer says it was done for family honour?
7. No, except for 7(iii) Yes