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Dutton opens debate on citizenship test

AAP logoAAP 2/01/2017 Lisa Martin

A tougher citizenship test could be on the cards for migrants wanting to become Australians.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said revamping the test "was a debate worth having" as the federal government looks at measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting migration path ways.

Mr Dutton flagged he wants to see greater focus on Australian values and people's ability to integrate into society - an individual's willingness to learn English, educate their children and employment prospects or welfare dependence.

"The vast majority of people come here and do the right thing... but there is a minority that are on a path way to citizenship who we need to have a closer look at in my judgement," he told 3AW Radio.

Key senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm backed the minister's calls.

"Raising the bar on citizenship is the right response to the concern about immigration which is currently circulating in Australia," Senator Leyonhjelm told AAP.

He believes Australia should look at Switzerland as a potential model where there is a sponsorship program and fellow citizens have to vouch for applicants.

He said the citizenship test should cover people's links to the community, work history and fundamental liberal democratic values such as free speech, equality before the law, rights of women and respect for diversity.

The controversial test was brought in by the Howard government in 2007 and covered Australia's history, sporting greats, government, geography and traditions.

The Rudd government tweaked the test two years later to cover civic duty and responsibilities.

Topics include the significance of Anzac Day, the role of the governor-general, laws and government, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Potential citizens must answer correctly at least 15 of the 20 questions to pass - up from 60 per cent under the old test.

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