Monday, January 01, 2007

85% support English language citizenship test

Despite widespread criticism of the proposed citizenship pledge and the test of knowledge of Australia to be posed in English The Australian newspaper reports that 85% of Australians support this test. My surprise is that the figure is so low.

The release of Cabinet Papers yesterday also shows that Liberal ex-Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, can be brought to account for what some euphemistically refer to as 'problems of multiculturalism' rampant among Lebanese Muslim communities in south-west Sydney. Fraser allowed into Australia, in the late 1970s, refugee migrants that then immigration authorities described as lacking requisite qualities for integration - many were illiterate, unskilled and had questionable characters (and even personal hygiene).

There were warnings at the time that terrorists and criminals could be seeking to enter Australia. The then Immigration Minister, Michael MacKellar, stated that the Lebanese refugee program was 'scraping the bottom of the barrel with regard to quality'. Even the local Lebanese community indicated they would not oppose more stringent requirements on Lebanese seeking entry.

The high-unemployment, high-crime communities established in Sydney’s south-west and the associated social problems are attributable to Fraser’s poor decisions. These migrants, and their progeny, are the same minority who cry out for jihad, participate in riots at Cronulla and generally hold in contempt Australia's democracy. As John Howard has stated, they have ‘attitudes utterly antagonistic to our kind of society’.

Fraser is a patrician hypocrite, loved by the left, who damns Howard for inducing divisiveness.

But Howard has increased the immigration intake and refocused it to include skilled migrants who add economically and culturally to Australia. It was Fraser’s inept policies, not John Howard, that has led to the fiasco in Sydney’s south-west.


Andrew Norton said...

Harry - Though Howard is also letting in people, through the refugee and humanitarian programmes, that could lead to the same problems as the Lebanese - illiterate in all languages, speaking English badly, pre-modern cultural beliefs on women, and so on. Certainly the balance has changed, but these things are the price you pay for a humanitarian element to migration.

hc said...

I agree with your observation about the refugee program. In the past this has mirrored the family program and almost everyone admitted to Australia had family links here. The big unmentionable was that selections were not primarily based on humanitarian considerations.

Its partly a question of how much weight you want to place on humanitarian motives. I don't think we have an obligation to take those who, perhaps because of their culture or lack of education, hate our social institutions, get involved in crime and can't get jobs or learn English after 30 years here. I am just not that generous.

BTW I have searched around a bit and found it hard to uncover information about the composition of our current refugee program. I couldn't get good data. I think the problems with Muslim migrants from Lebanon related to a particular period and is not an issue now.

Of course Howard has transformed the migration program (this is defined in government policy exclusive of refugee and humanitarian migrants) generally by making it largely skills-based.

This ended the ethnic vote buying aberrations of the ALP and gave us citizens that were more likely to be self-reliant, productive and less likely to be uneducated religious fanatics.

Andrew Norton said...

Harry - The stats are in DIMA's Immigration Update.

Of the 12,000 or so humanitarian arrivals in 2005-06, the major sources are Sudan (30%), sub-Saharan Africa 27%, Iraq 15%, and Afghanistan 12%. Iraq is the most advanced of these countries - and hardly an encouraging example.

hc said...

Andrew, Thanks for that - its a good read. So 67.3% in total of the refugee and humanitarian intake coming from the Middle East and North Africa. Notice that large levels of chain migration from the Middle East now entering from the family program.

Those now being accepted from Sudan will chain migrate about 1 family member for each refugee admitted. Despite the blowup concerning incidents in Tamworth there is evidence in Melbourne of Sudanese involvement (particularly young males) in violent crime.

We are creating yet another problem.

Jason Soon said...

what does the citizenship test have to do with the other news item? I agree that we should keep out illiterate dummies and dodgy types but as the second item you discussed reveals, the problems today weren't caused by the lack of a citizenship test, they were caused by bloody Malcolm Fraser lowering existing standards that had been there all along in the absence of a citizenship test.

hc said...

Jason, Almost nothing as far as I see. I should have made separate posts.

The test doesn't impact on entry rules - it comes later - although it might have some minimal impact on those choosing to seek to come.

conrad said...

I'm not even sure why Australia has a refugee resettlment program on the scale it does.

Given that there are millions of refugees, surely the money spent on resettling extremely small numbers of refugees in an expensive country like Australia would go much further if it was spent in the places where most of the refugees actually are (like Pakistan), or, for that matter, on trying to help some of the extremely poor countries where they are coming from.

My suggestion is therefore to substantially cut the refugee program and spend far more on foregin aid.

Sam Ward said...

My prediction - based on nothing in particular except what I can already see happening in Perth, is that the current refugees coming from Africa will be a much, much bigger headache than the previous Lebanese migrants.

hc said...

Sam, Also in Melbourne - I'd make the same prediction. Violent male youth looking for trouble. I hope we are both wrong.

conrad said...

Based on what happens in Europe (and especially France where I work now and then), I'll go for the opposite prediction, which is not to say I don't think the Africans won't have a higher rate of problems than the general community.

Alternatively, whether they cause more problems than matched SES groups, I wouldn't know. However, I will go for the prediction that they will remain a low SES group, unlike, say, the Vietnamese who seem to have been moving up the ladder in the second generation.

chrisl said...

conrad Wow a triple negative in one sentence! You had better hope they don't make those English tests retrospective!

Lebanese and proud of it said...

Andrew Norton your comments are basically racist. Racism = Generalizations, if this is simple enough for you to understand. Look back through history for the other racist movements, and you will see the same generalizations lead to more extreme manifestations as the racist gets more comfortable with their public expression of their fearful and narrow perspective.

Perhaps you should attempt to actually get to know as Lebanese person. Then you might find that they do not all conform to your racist sterotypes of illiteacy, and cultual beliefs about women. I do not have these, and I am Lebanese, and I find your comments extremely insulting.

Anonymous said...

Sam, your comments are also racist. Where are your facts? Do you know the rate of 'problems' of African emmigrants vs. your white christian bretheren with the same characteristics (income, occupation, sex, etc). Where are your statistics? Where is the evidence? Is it just that you "just know" (like god), because you have some special insights based on one persons biased views of happenings in Perth? Or is it that some basically crap and racist program like Today Tonight had a feature story on it and you were taken in, not knowing that all they want to do is stir up controversy and sell advertising space?

Do you have some special reason why you know so much about Africa? Did you live there?

This is a completely shameful series of comments, and I am disgusted by it. Harry, you should be ashamed of yourself, this is an all time low. Please study the history of racist movements, and grow a concience about this stuff.

conrad said...


luckily I don't think people should have to pass a compulsary English test, and nor am I against double negatives. Which Kevin Rudd might say is bu bucuo, except he probably has to speak English from now on.


if you want the crime figures, there is a report from AICS in 1996 that is free to download (I seem to remember Romania topped the list at that stage) or you can probably dig it out of the census data if you have access to it and want more recent stuff. There is also certain to be data showing that social mobility isn't very high in Australia these days (i.e., if you are poor to start, you will probably stay that way), which is one of the problems of being a poor immigrant.

Interestingly, country comparisons show that white Australians are some of the highest crime creators there are (over 10* some places in East Asia), so to some extent, this sort of debate is rather amusing given the statistics.

hc said...

Proud to be Lebanese and Anonymous,

This is a debate about immigration policy and who Australia should admit to Australia. It is not about Lebanese or other races, in general, but about particular groups entering Australia during the 1970s via the refugee program.

These groups have maintained high rates of unemployment and high rates of crime. You seriously deny that unemployment is high among those who settled in south-ewest Sydney or that there is a crime problem in that area. The NSW have formed a particular unit to address it.

Your description of people as racist is offensive and totally unwarranted. I am a long-time supporter of immigration.

conrad said...

Actually Harry,

it has occurred to me that probably the highest crime group matched on SES are low income whites from English speaking countries.

Many of these guys come from New Zealand and we let them in without being tested, so perhaps a good change to immigration policy (for us but not NZ) would be to make them go through the usual policy.

hc said...

Conrad, Australia and New Zealand have an integrated labor market but autonomous separate migration policies. NZ desparate for people in recent years have lower entry standards than Australia and many migrants to NZ (as well as non-migrant nationals) remigrate to Australia. My view - coordinate the migration policies or block the common labour market arrangement.

Jason Soon said...

But Conrad
Aren't the Africans in France basically Francophone and from former French colonies? Presumably there are a higher percentage of middle class among them? The same isn't true of the African refugees coming here.

The issue isn't racism, anonymous. I don't care what race or even what nominal religion people are as long as they have solid bourgeois values.

Jason Soon said...

Obviously in my previous comment I was referring to immigrants. The difference between Harry and me over citizenship tests may be a trifling one. I am against singling out a particular race or religion but I agree that values matter - but the values which matter are non race or religion specific.

conrad said...


the Africans in France certainly are Francophones in general. France has a policy of not releasing this sort of information, so I couldn't say how rich they are, but I think I've seen 2 in the university system in my last 6 years of travelling there once a year, so I'll assume they are pretty poor, and getting a crappy job in France is probably harder than Aus.

The main difference between a comparison with those coming to Aus (IMHO), is that they are from different areas and are from different groups, so my guess that they won't experience as many problems as some of the other groups could be completely off on that count (being culturally ingornant about differences across African groups). I also think Australia is a far more accepting place than when the Lebanese came here, so they might benefit on that count also and not get into endemic second generation problems as much.

HC, I realize that Aus and NZ has an integrated labour market, but having the same immigration policy doesn't top the native high-crime white-trash from moving to Australia and becoming a social problem. If we can complain about low SES Africans causing high crime rates I don't see why low SES Anglos who also have excessively high crime rates get away without the slightest word. It may well be that low SES Anglos have comparitively higher crime rates and lower social mobility than low SES Africans -- its just we don't realize it because they absorbed into the means most of the time.

jack said...

Bringing criminals to Australia is an old tradition - it's what made this country what it is today, cobbers.

These polls. Especially one quoted in The Volkische Beobachter (aka The Australian).

A poll quoted to bolster a dodgy argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Just because these polls tell us so, do we put our hand in the fire? In 1995 53% of the population still favoured the death penalty but we didn't have one anyway.

BTW. That support has collapsed according to the latest polls -
see - only 27% favour the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

I did not describe people as racist. I described sams comments as racist. These are logically distinct things. Your (surprisingly) defensive reaction about your views on immigration is beside the point!

I don't retract the comment that the people on your site are making racist comments. Racist comments are generalizations about people on the basis of their ethinicity, etc.

I agree with 'lebanese and proud of it' that Nortons comment is racist, because he said

"that could lead to the same problems as the Lebanese - illiterate in all languages, speaking English badly, pre-modern cultural beliefs on women,".

The racist phrase is "the Lebanese" as it indicates the following phrase is true for all Lebanese. Perhaps you should try inserting the statement "Black people" instead of lebanese, and it might tweak in your brain why it is racist:

I did not describe people as racist. I described sams comments as racist. These are logically distinct things. Your (surprisingly) defensive reaction about your views on immigration is beside the point!

I don't retract the comment that the people on your site are making racist comments. Racist comments are generalizations about people on the basis of their ethinicity, etc.

I agree with 'lebanese and proud of it' that Nortons comment is racist, because he said

"that could lead to the same problems as the Black people - illiterate in all languages, speaking English badly, pre-modern cultural beliefs on women,".

So lets go to Sam's racist comment:

"the current refugees coming from Africa will be a much, much bigger headache "

Try out the phrase "the current Jewish refugees with be a much, much bigger headache", and you see why it is offensive, (its antisemitic).

A statement like "people who come from a traumatized or poor background, like a number of the emmigrants from Africa" might be what sam meant, but he didn't say this.

Racist language is illogical, and hence insidious, because language changes peoples thinking towards illogical racist modes.

hc said...

Anonymous, As should be clear I am opposed to judging people by their ethnicity. As every rreasonable person knows - humans of different ethicities share most genes in common and there are good and bad from every race.

What I am saying is that Australia has not done well ouit of accepting migrants of certain ethnicities. We have ended up with citizens with high crime rates and high dependency on social welfare.

Many have religious and social views that the majority of Australians do not appreciate.

Quentin Tyler said...

Lets expand the program to all trouble-making ethinicities: The citizenship test should include tolerance tests -- e.g. we should target white south africans for their views on non-whites. Also target right-wing isrealis for prejudiced views about arabs. The last thing we need in Australia is more people who cannot tolerate other ethinicities and cause race riots at nice beaches! Perhaps also lets target the english for whingeing, born-again american christians, ultra-orthodox jews, scientologists and mormans for delusional mental illness: promoting religions that divide and isolate communities. Also, lets have a driving test to screen out asians who cannot drive, and brazillians who drive way to dangerously. These people come here and commit murder on our roads!

hc said...

Quentin, You can certainly seek to ridicule things in this way. The proposal is for an English test plus understanding of Australian cultural values. This seems sensible to me. Excluding people on the basis of the criteria you suggest seems less so. I assume you are one who would require no criteria for citizenship at all - in this you would be rejecting tests that are now used in both the US and thye UK.

quentin tyler said...

Dear God, Harry! Can't you see that it is just a political strategy by Johnny H? Demonize muslims, babies overboard, make them adopt our values, etc.

Anybody who has put enough effort to get here will put enough effort into faking any "test" that we can devise. Therefore: IT IS A WASTE OF TIIME AND MONEY. Aren't you economists opposed to silly, political and wasteful uses of tax dollars?

gods of the world wide web, please give us a blogger who is mature enough to change his mind on an issue when his reason is obsiously misguided!


q tyler said...

oh, and yes, I think a driving test would be far more useful. not aimed at any group, just really bad drivers who kill people on the roads. i bet we would get more bang for the buck with that than some dumb citizenship quiz.

hc said...

Quentin, I don't see that - I think you have an imagination but lack logic. This has nothing to do with 'babies overboard' and the intention is to test English and to signal to potential Australians what sorts of values Australians have.

Most of your posts are noise not argument.

QT said...

hmmm. Harry. "I don't see that" is not an argument, last time I checked. You are sublimating your own inadequacies in criticizm of me. Address the argument that your proposed tests will have any impact at all, given that a determined person will come anyhow. Thats the point of the driving idea: it would at least have an impact, because the skills would be learned. You can't force learning or acceptance of 'values' however. *Your* arguments are pure noise unless you are capable of addressing this point, which you so far have gone to great lengths to avoid so far.

Lets make it simple for you: WILL IT WORK?????

1989-Diva said...

we need to be reminded that Australia is firmly built on migrant sucess. Of the 120,060 migrants who became permanent residents in Australia during this period - the most since the late 1980s - around 65 percent (77,880) emigrated through one of the country's many skill streams. To add new barriers that will restrict the development of Australia is a waste of time and money.
i believe that there should be an English requirement which would benifit the migrants greatly but a test for Australian values is ridiculous. Such values are universal and are developed through up-bringing and can not be determined through a test which can be faked.