If you planned to spend your life in Japan and even raise a family there, it’s only logical that you would learn Japanese.
And you would want to know and respect the local customs, like removing your street shoes before tromping through someone’s home.
Yet too many immigrants entering Australia don’t meet those most basic expectations, according to citizenship minister Alan Tudge.
Joining a Rotary Club could be enough for a migrant to demonstrate to the federal government that they’re integrating into Australian society, Alan Tudge says.
The citizenship minister says there are indications Australia’s not doing as well as it has in the past on developing a multicultural society and migrants must integrate, not separate.
He’s in talks with crossbench MPs to garner support for a renewed push by the government to reintroduce citizenship laws shot down in the Senate last year.
That includes an English language test and a demonstration by migrants that they’re committed to Australian values and integrating themselves into society.
Typically migrants are in the country for three to four years before coming a citizen, so that’s when the effort should be made, Mr Tudge believes.
Migrants must be able to speak, read and write in English to improve their chances of getting a job and taking advantages of the opportunities Australia has to offer, he says. He added:
‘In addition … we want to have migrants demonstrate that they’ve made an effort to integrate before they become a citizen…
‘That could be as simple as sending your kids to school, endeavouring to get work rather than always being on welfare and also involving yourself in the community because you’ve joined the local soccer club or Rotary Club.’
Mr Tudge has warned failures to achieve integration could lead to separatism, where enclaves of migrants don’t adhere to national values or speak a common language.
In a speech last week the minister warned ‘ethnic separatism’ was shaking Australia to its core.
The Australian Tribune with AAP