Malcolm Turnbull grilled by Leigh Sales over ‘Australian values’, citizenship test overhaul

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says concern for his own political future was not behind an overhaul of Australia’s citizenship laws.

Under new changes announced by Mr Turnbull, new arrivals must prize “Australian values” and prove their commitment to the nation.

In an interview with ABC’s 7.30 program, Mr Turnbull was pressed on what the specific problems were within the current system.

Referencing a speech Mr Turnbull gave on multiculturalism in February, host Leigh Sales asked: “what’s changed in the 10 weeks since then, other than your growing need to shore up your political stocks?”.

Mr Turnbull dismissed the question as cynical, adding that the vast majority of Australians were pleased to see politicians “standing up for Australian values”.

“Freedom, equality of men and women, mutual respect, the rule of law, democracy, a fair go — that’s our Australian values,” he said.

“There is something uniquely Australian about them. We’re proud of them. We’re committed to them. We should celebrate them and we should put them at the core of becoming an Australian citizen.”

Turnbull on internal feuding

The Turnbull Government has trailed Labor in the last 10 Newspolls and has not held a clear majority of the two party preferred vote since July 2.

Mr Turnbull cited poor polling — losing 30 Newspolls in a row — in his ousting of his predecessor Tony Abbott.

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Turnbull denied that he and the former prime minister were engaged in “open warfare” after a series of outspoken media appearances by Mr Abbott.

In a newspaper opinion piece and on radio earlier this week, Mr Abbott called on the Government to change policies and embrace more conservative principles.

It was the latest in a series of criticisms of the Turnbull Government, but Mr Turnbull said characterisations of the relationship had been “totally unfair”.

“My job as Prime Minister is to deliver on my commitments to the Australian people,” he said.

“I’m not interested in personalities or politics of that kind.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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