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Government has shown leadership on values.



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Media Centre Government Has Shown Leadership on Values

11 September 2006

The Howard Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to values education for migrants entering Australia.

Mr Beazley's call to include a statement by applicants on their visa forms that they will uphold Australian values and laws, and run “some sessions” on Australian values ignores the comprehensive program already offered by the Australian Government.

All successful applicants for permanent visas receive information about Australian values, loyalty to Australia and the basic structures and principles of Australian society, along with other settlement information, with their visa grant letter.

As well, applicants are given information which refers them to the Beginning a life in Australia booklet on the internet in English and 24 other languages. It includes a chapter on Australian customs and laws.

The Government also spends in the order of $1million annually on a pre-departure Australian cultural orientation program for refugee entrants under its humanitarian programme.

Once here, there are comprehensive settlement and language programs, valued at over $230 million annually, to assist migrants to integrate into the Australian community and enable them to participate through work or study as soon as possible.

This includes over $150 million this year in teaching migrants English. The program includes the module “Lets Participate” which teaches them about their rights and responsibilities in Australia.

In the 2006-07 Federal Budget, the Government allocated an additional $0.6 million for a new communication campaign that will focus on Australian democratic values and institutions and the rule of law, and English as our national language. The campaign will complement a broader information campaign promoting Australian citizenship.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Education, Science and Training, has also committed funding of $29.7 million over four years (2004-2008) to its Values Education programme to help make values education a core part of Australian schooling. This initiative forms part of the National Action Plan to promote national security and cohesion within our community.

As well, the Government is looking at the merit of a formal citizenship test for migrants seeking Australian citizenship.

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Andrew Robb AO MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

The Government's program is comprehensive, diverse and tailored to meet the specific needs of the people it targets.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathryn Hodges 0409 132 567

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