Public debate rages on 'Australian values'

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Having a laugh, drinking a beer, wearing shorts and wandering around in public without a bodyguard.

These are the great Australian values, according to our prime minister and his deputy.

Or are they warning other drivers about speed cameras, calling out bullshit when you see it and scoring tax breaks on vast portfolios of investment properties?

Social media users swiftly and ruthlessly pounced when Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday announced an "Australian values" test would form part of tougher citizenship requirements.

"Australians have an enormous reservoir of good sense, and we know that our values of mutual respect, democracy, freedom, rule of law, those values, a fair go -- these they are fundamental Australian values," he told reporters in Canberra.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce went further, rejoicing in seeing a movie without a security detail, choosing whether to practise religion and celebrating gender equality.

"You basically leave people alone if they're not annoying you, don't annoy them. We are robust. If someone wants to stride around in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you let them," Mr Joyce said.

"We roll with the punches. We believe that if one person wants to have a beer, they can. If another person decides they don't want to, that's completely and utterly their choice."

The pair's pronouncements triggered an avalanche of suggestions on Twitter.

"Flashing your headlights to warn there's cops around the next corner. Telling politicians when they're being dickheads," suggested Jeff Waugh.

"Systematically destroy 200+ indigenous languages, then insist newcomers speak yours (which you're barely literate in)," wrote Craig Andrew Batty.

"Personally, I'm proudest of the Australian value of calling out bullshit," Guardian Australia political editor Katharine Murphy said.

"One Australian Senator owns 33 properties, while 48 millionaires pay no income tax - not even the Medicare levy," tweeted Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

"Getting a $5K chopper to Geelong and them blaming socialism," joked twitter user Jeremy.

The suggestions continued to pour in thick and fast hours after the political leaders wrapped up their respective press conferences.

© AAP 2017

Image by Lachlan Fearnley (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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