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Prime Minister  Howard, Opposition Leader  Beazley and Andrew Robb, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs,  are all dancing to a politically correct tune in  discussing    what   core values  immigrants applying for   Australian citizenship  should accept.  Robb has issued a 31-page discussion paper “Exploring the Merits of a Formal Citizenship Test”,  which lists 16 questions  for  those  making submissions.  The questions relate to knowledge of English,  Australian values and way of life.    

These politicians are so anxious to avoid charges of racism or discrimination  that they are attempting to dance around  why there is  now a need for “values” commitments when there was none in the past. They are pretending to ignore the “camel in the tent”  - or to put it plainly, “the Arab in the tent”.   

In the fifties,   Italian and Greek grandparents  working in fruit shops  had little knowledge of  English.   Because of their hard work their sons and daughters were well educated and entered the professions in droves. English is not a pre-requisite for  good citizenship, but with free English lessons, there is little excuse not to learn the language. 

Australians are never going to agree on “values”.  Senator Kay Patterson, for example, supports the idea of creating animal-human hybrid embryos for research.  To me this is repugnant.  Nor is  it necessary for immigrants to grasp our ideals of “mateship” and shout a round in a pub,  to  like vegemite  (I detest  the stuff)  or be able to sing two verses of  “Gert by sea”, however beautiful  Gert  may have been.      

But to stop being a nuisance to the rest of us, here are the values I want our immigrants to sign off on  - and  yes, these “values” are targetted at a specific religious minority because the rest of us  have little problem  in accepting these undertakings: 

  • Accept that  Israel  has a right to exist as a nation.


  • Promise you will not name any of your  children “Hamas”  or “Hezbollah”.


  • Acknowledge  George Bush is not the Great Satan. (Memo:    President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, you have to sign off on this one too if you want to migrate to Australia)


  • Admit that  the murderous events of Sept. ll, 200l were not organised by the CIA, the Jewish lobby  or George Bush  (see above)  but by Islamic terrorists. 


  •   Accept that  Sharia law has no place in a civilized  society - the rest of us  do not like cutting off the hands of thieves,   stoning women for adultery or requiring rape victims to provide four witnesses before they can access justice.


  • Accept that  all adults have a right to  abandon or change their religion without  persecution and   hysterical  accusations  of “apostasy”.


  • Admit that polygamy is unacceptable not merely because it is against Australian law but because it is  discriminatory, demeaning and degrading to women.  Contrary to what Keyser Trad, Chairman of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, asserts, Malaysia is not a model democracy because it allows polygamy and does not recognise conversions from Islam to Christianity.


  • Accept that  as sport is the national religion of  Australia,  girls should  be allowed to wear  appropriate clothes for sports they participate in.  I am still  occasionally furious that years ago  we lost a  doubles badminton final in India because my  Muslim partner  had to wear long pantaloons  which  restricted her speed around the court.


  • Accept that  adult women be allowed to choose who they wish to date or marry, and that it not to be regarded as inimical to family honour if she chooses a man of another faith or tribe.  Broadly  translated, this means “No honour killings”, mate. 


  • Write a  short letter  - in English -  to the Government of Saudi Arabia requesting that  in that country Catholics be allowed to build churches and say Mass,  that Protestants be allowed to carry Bibles in public (or vice versa),  and that Baptists be allowed to baptize converts in whatever rivers flow through Saudi Arabia. 


I am tempted to add that prospective citizens also accept the “Line of  Control” between the opposing Indian and Pakistani forces  in beautiful Kashmir and not send funds to Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated  group  that is working to de-stabilize the region, but perhaps that is a bridge too far.   

If prospective immigrants can give the undertakings above, the rest of us can accept them as citizens.




BABETTE FRANCIS is co-ordinator of the Endeavour Forum, a counter- feminist, anti-abortion group



Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN