New senator David Leyonhjelm has called for stronger immigration policies including a more stringent citizenship test, saying he believes some cultures are not compatible with Australia’s way of life.
By
Chief political correspondent Karen Middleton

1 Jul 2014 - 6:47 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2014 - 9:32 AM

The Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm has told SBS that all migrants to Australia should pay $50,000 to raise extra revenue for the government, while a higher burden of proof should be placed on genuine refugees.

Senator Leyonhjelm, who makes up one of 18 cross-benchers in the new senate, also said it should be more difficult to become a citizen, stating that some cultures are incompatible with Australia's way of life.

He nominated attitudes to women as an example.

“Islam, plus I mean there are cultures in Africa where women are treated as chattels as well,” he said.

“Those kinds of attitudes, if they brought them to Australia and expected to retain them, we would think they were incompatible with our society.”

Senator Leyonhjelm's views on immigration are likely to stir controversy.

Pino Migliorino, honorary president and past chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils (FECCA) says many migrants from Africa and the Middle East are absolutely committed to Australia.

"Yet we still have this prevailing narrative that certain people from certain places won't fit in. It's not backed up with evidence," he told SBS.

The new senator said he was open to negotiating deals with the government, but was unwilling to name his priorities.

Another new senator, the Tasmanian Palmer United Party’s Jacqui Lambie, says she will put her home state first, even if it means voting differently to her colleagues.

“If it's not going to suit my Tasmania then I'll be crossing the floor,” she said.

“That's just the way it is. I have to put Tasmania first.”

 Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “reasonably optimistic” about working with the new Senate amid falling popularity in the polls.