AUSTRALIAN IMMIGRATION NEWS
Cricketer Bradman stays put in Australian Immigration Citizenship Test Revamp
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
The Australian immigration citizenship test is in for a possible makeover, only six months after its introduction by the previous conservative Howard government on 1 October 2007.
Announcing the review in Canberra yesterday, 29 January 2008, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said a range of concerns had been raised about the 20-question multiple-choice citizen test: "More work needs to be done to make sure the right questions are asked and there are no unintended barriers for people who wish to become Australian citizens."
According to the Immigration Department, about 18% of the 9043 people who sat the test in its first three months, failed it on their first attempt. The skills stream made up 43.8% of test participants, while 21.6% came from the family stream and 16.9% from the humanitarian program.
Senator Evans says it's a question about whether people ought to be failing the test on the basis of sports trivia answers, many of which would be failed by current Australians. He's stressed that the citizen test's current emphasis on past sporting heroes and historical dates are the main points of concern.
The review of the test, which has been designed to demonstrate Australian values, traditions and history, will examine the appropriateness of the test's questions and whether the level of English required to pass is set too high.
"There is a bias in the sporting section to the 1930s, 40s and 50s and it may be more relevant to have more contemporary figures... Seems to me that's not a basis on which we ought to decide someone not becoming an Australian citizen," Evans stated.
However, one thing, Immigration Minister Evans said, will stay the same and that is that would-be Australian citizens will still be quizzed on cricketing icon, Sir Donald Bradman, because he accentuates the nation's enthusiastic love for sport.
Prospective citizens are asked to name Australia's greatest cricketer of the 1930s, and the choices lie between Sir Hubert Opperman, Bradman and Walter Lindrum. (Lindrum a top billiards player and Opperman was a champion road cyclist.)
Some of the questions also ask would-be Australian citizens to recall historical dates, which include the year that Australia was first settled as a British penal colony and the year the Australian flag was first flown, which Evans believes are completely inappropriate.
Another problem that's been raised concerning the test, is the fact that it's done through a computer. This may be difficult for some people, particularly those without formal education. "I know my dad would find the idea of a test on a computer quite confronting," Immigration Minister Evans said.
The main goal of this citizenship test, Evans believes, is that it should highlight how important it is for new citizens to have an understanding of Australia's democracy, how it functions, the values of the country, their right to vote, the rule of law, the role of the police and that there's a zero tolerance for violence.
Evans emphasizes that these are the important things that people entering the Australian society to become citizens need to understand. "Whether or not they need to understand the history of Walter Lindrum's contribution to billiards in the 1930s and 40s I'm not so sure."
Despite the Government's concerns, the test will not be scrapped, as they think it's a positive thing that should remain part of the path to citizenship.
"Australians have been enriched by the diverse cultures and traditions of people who have come here from more than 200 countries. The common bond that unites us all is citizenship," the Immigration Minister said.
If are considering immigration and would like to take the first step towards becoming a citizen of "The Lucky Country", see if you qualify by taking our free visa eligibility assessment.
Ordered by the government, a review of the Australian citizenship test will be completed in April.
Rochelle van der Merwe | Migration Expert Australia