Australian migrants bi-cultural, bilingual

New citizens: Ayodeji Oseni with his wife Taiwo and their two-year-old daughter Emmanuela. The couple, who came to Ballarat last year, became citizens in a City of Ballarat ceremony in January.
New citizens: Ayodeji Oseni with his wife Taiwo and their two-year-old daughter Emmanuela. The couple, who came to Ballarat last year, became citizens in a City of Ballarat ceremony in January.

Proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship test could target vulnerable migrants, Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council said. 

An amended citizenship test could see applicants quizzed on their opinion on genital mutilation, forced marriage and domestic violence as part of a series of “value based” questions.

Plans to overhaul the country’s migration program were unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday.

The announcement came a day after the government revealed its proposal to axe temporary 457 visas. 

Ballarat Regional Multicultural Centre (BMRC) chair Constantine Osuchukwu said Australian values were “universal”.

“These are values you see in a whole heaps of other countries so it’s not unique in us. The BMRC is trying to teach people to be bi-cultural and bilingual.

“We should be putting more resources into helping the migrant community to learn English, to learn Australian values and to bring their own values.

“We understand why the government would seek to do that (make changes) but on the other hand we have to be very careful we don’t target the vulnerable migrant population.”

Ballarat’s Ayodeji Oseni has been an Australian citizen for three months.

The network engineer said proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship test could remove the perception new migrants are “disconnected” from Australian values.

Mr Oseni moved to Australia from England in 2012 as a student dependent. His wife Taiwo earned a PHD at Monash University and now teaches at Federation University. The couple are originally from Nigeria. 

“I believe every country has their values and citizens are required to respect these values,” Mr Oseni said.

“While it is true that the values in Nigeria and UK, where I've previously lived, may be different from Australian values, I have made an effort to learn and respect the Australian values.”

Currently citizenship applicants sit a 20-question test. The quiz asks factual multiple-choice questions about Anzac Day, Australia's system of government and the colours of the Aboriginal flag.