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Australia has unveiled details of a new citizenship test for immigrants.

They will be asked questions about history, institutions and culture - as well as committing to Australian social values focusing on "mateship".


Critics believe the requirement of an English language exam discriminates against non-English speakers.


The prospective citizen will have to give a correct answer to 12 out of 20 questions - drawn from a total of about 200.

Some elements will almost certainly be beyond the knowledge of many ordinary Australians, says the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney.

They include knowing the country's first prime minister or when European settlers arrived in Australia - or what the opening line of the national anthem is. Another one could be related to the nation's most important horse race.


For the first time, the draft guide lists 10 essential Australian values every citizen must embrace - focusing on "mateship and a fair go" and including tolerance, compassion, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and secular government, equality of men and women and peacefulness."

Yes, because nothing quite says tolerance, compassion, freedom of speech, religion, government and equality for all like refusing someone citizenship cause they can't tell you what's important about a fucking horse race.

In english, no less.



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Aug. 26th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Imagine how worried I am about my boyfriend sitting this test a couple of years from now.

He only speaks American :(
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)

What does "mateship" mean, anyways?
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
Mateship means beating your wife, getting drunk with your mates and voting for the liberal party.
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Hey, we have that in America, too! Isn't globalization great?

I feel like hugging everyone, then mocking them for their social/racial/sexual inequalities.
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
The only difference is that in Australia the Liberal Party is the deeply conservative evil party. They're our Republican Party.
Aug. 26th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, I gathered as much. Like attracts like, regardless of labels.

I just go with "left" or "right" to describe political affiliations, because they tend to cross cultures well, even if it is, you know, a bit one-dimensional.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
ohmygod, you must be australian!
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
yeah, he's doomed. unless he's white. maybe they'll be nice to him if he's, y'know, white.
Aug. 26th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
Barry Jones etc. notwithstanding, a fair chunk of parliament likely flunks this.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
yeah. truthfully, i reckon i'd fail it. i can't remember australia's first pm off the top of my head.
Aug. 27th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
Over at Brisbane's online newspaper, you can fail the test like I did.


I got 10 out of 20. I should have got 12, but, you know, I've got a bit of a cold at the moment.

And I'm a Kiwi, so I shouldn't know these, just like most Aussies shouldn't know these.
Aug. 27th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC)
oh. wow.

i failed that.
Aug. 27th, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
John Barton.

Took me about ten minutes to remember the first line of the national anthem, though; I haven't been made to sing that in years...
Aug. 27th, 2007 10:54 am (UTC)
psst. i think it's edmund barton...
Aug. 27th, 2007 10:58 am (UTC)
Yeah... I think John Barton was a character in a book. Oh well.

Anyway, I got 15/20. Hooray!
Aug. 27th, 2007 11:00 am (UTC)
yay! you get to be australian!
Aug. 27th, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
Wait... Edmund Barton. Dammit.
Aug. 27th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
ha! i was two minutes quicker!
Aug. 26th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Not that the fact that most Australians would fail hands down is even remotely part of the issue - how, but how, does spouting obscure facts describe a personality? I'm sure quite a few of those nasty freedom fighters know their histoyr.

Oh, and case your looking for a way to remember Oz's floral emblem, Monty Python always comes through:

'This here is the wattle,
the emlem of our land.
You can stick it in a bottle
or you can hold it in your hand."

Aug. 26th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
we can only hope the wattle song is in the test.
Aug. 26th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Not sure I agree with you on the language thing (a fair requirement, in my opinion, although probably the only one on the list) but I'm with you on the rest.

Geez, I really want to move to Australia, too!
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
i dunno. personally, i don't see what speaking english has to do with being australian. sure, it's the main language here, but that doesn't stop you from learning this stuff in chinese or swedish or whatever.

also, pretty much every other government document i've ever seen comes with the mutiple language choices.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
Understandable. Just, I guess, I think that the only reasonable suggestion they make about what it takes to be an Australian in that whole test, is that you should speak English. Ergo you won't be wasting other people's time when you arrive, because you can't communicate, ergo you'll be able to get (and hold down) a job, rather than live off others, et cetara. I mean, I'm incredibly, incredibly liberal when it comes to boundaries and countries and immigration. I'll give anyone a fair shot. I think the test is out of order, but just think all the other arguments hold up better than the language one!
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
well, fair enough. i guess it's all different mileage for everyone.

in other news, internet explorer seven sucks balls, and hello firefox. jeez. i'm not nazi about this shit, but how many times can a device crash and freeze in a ten minute slot of time?
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
To quote something I wrote on a Brighton new media email list recently:

">> “Is it possible to put IE 6 back on pc if IE 7 is installed?”

Once you’ve installed IE 7 on your machine, no other browser will ever play
nice. Food in your fridge will turn before its sell-by date, you’ll have
permanent athlete’s foot, and your wife will never love you quite the same
as she did before. And that itching feeling on your arse? Let’s just say
that wasn’t in the beta. Oh, and forget anything else ever staying as your
default browser, too."
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
Ergo yes it sucks balls!
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
hmm. well. yes. i wasn't aware of that. however, firefox seems to be working without a hassle, so maybe that bug got worked out. if not, i'll just uninstall ie 7.

ie7 did an amazing thing: it made me side with everyone who hates internet explorer. usually i just don't care about that, you know? i just use whatever. but fuck if it didn't piss me off.
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I have to develop for all browsers (*vomits!*) but yuh, I know the feeling... just, y'know, who gives a fuck? Gimme something that works... then it didn't. I hated it.

Ironically it is more standards compatible than the previous ones.
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
heh. that is pretty funny.
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
It's all that patronising shit that fucked me off. The whole "Internet Explorer thinks this is a phishing site. Watch out, it'll give you teh aids!" shit, when you're just trying to look up the new Scott Lynch novel or something.

Even the pop-up blocker pissed me off, and it's the one thing I wished they'd included years before!

I sound like I'm ranting for no reason at them, but shit, did they ever get it wrong...
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
yeah, i'm not disagreeing. and for some unknown reason, it kept having troubles with skype...
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
Just stick with Firefox, Ben. Stick with Firefox.

Or Opera.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
We can hope Rudd will get rid of this farce if elected, or at least change it to something a bit less bullshit-ridden.

But what's a citizenship test ever going to be other than a test of how well you can learn your script, smile politely and tell them what they want to hear? In itself, an excellent assessment of how well you'll fit into the Australian workforce.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
yeah, you're right: the citizenship test is nothing but smile, nod, and learn the countries propaganda... but that whole mateship thing really shits me. blah. anyhow, as for rudd, i don't see him as being any different to howard and his lot. not much'll change if he gets in, imo.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
Remains to be seen. But one thing about populists is that they do understand that on issues no one gives a fuck about, they can do whatever they like. I have a feeling if this citizenship test quietly got changed to something sensible, there isn't more than a handful of cranks who'd give a shit. And therein lies my hope for Rudd.
Aug. 26th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
yes, i suspect you're quite right about there only being a handful of cranks who'd give a shit.
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
In a wholehearted attempt to curb any problems and try to help out would-be immigrants (like myself! Awesome!), I'd suggest that each and every would-be taker of this test read Robert Hughes' 'The Fatal Shore.'

(Horse races? Humans are so odd)
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
hughes fatal shore is actually pretty cool. also of interest is the tim flannery stuff--i think he did a melbourne one recently, but his sydney one is neat.

where you from originally?
Aug. 27th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
Tim Flannery? Am unfamiliar with his work. You suggest anything in particular that I ought to yoink from bookshelves post-haste?
Aug. 27th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
THE BIRTH OF SYDNEY is the flannery book i like. the first quarter of it is his own works, and the rest are selections from newspapers and articles he's made that talk about sydney. i found it quite interesting, actually--though it's the only thing of his i've read, though i've been meaning to do so.

if you've not read it, the john birmingham LEVIATHAN: AN UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF SYDNEY is interesting, if quite sloppy in places. some people say it's a kind of gonzo history, but personally, i don't think it goes that far. it's interesting, though, and enjoyable, which is not something i can say about other history books on australia (and sydney). (henry renyolds' books, for example, while theoretically interesting--they talk about aboriginal history and experiences when the british invaded--but are really quite painful to read.)

what else. i liked BROKEN CIRCLES, the anna haebich book, for the stolen generation, and the general shit given to aboriginal people. fiction wise, if you've not tried peter carey, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG gets my nod. it's probably my favourite of his stuff, though most of it is quite good. i tend to run, run, run from tim winton...

i suppose i'd have to flip back through my thesis for all that stuff about sydney i read. oh, peter carey's 30 DAYS IN SYDNEY: A WILDLY DISTORTED ACCOUNT, is pretty neat, if only to see how he completely avoids the western suburbs, where the majority of sydney lives. heh. lastly, if you can find it, pio's 24 HOURS is brilliant (his name is spelt like the pi symbol, then a O), but your mileage will vary on how open you are to big books of poetry that is written to mirror a broken english.

you were probably just asking about the flannery book, too. heh.
Aug. 27th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
I point to Hughes when telling people what they ought to read to learn about Oz.

And my family was kicked out of the Soviet Union back in '83. Landed in the US, and we recently moved back home to Moscow. I moved to Australia.

Go figure.

Oh man, identity crisis! What is art, who am I? Ohhhh!
Aug. 27th, 2007 01:36 am (UTC)
Out of curiosity, I decided to go and see what kind of citizenship tests are used (if at all) in the other three countries in which I've lived. For your interests:

Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/ENGLISH/resources/publications/look/look-22.asp

Russia: http://compatriot.su/citizenship/advice/78.html

US: http://usgovinfo.about.com/blinstst.htm

Interesting point here being that the Russian one doesn't ask would-be residents to know a thing about Russia. Can you provide a certified document stating that you have some kind of educational history (i.e.: high school diploma)? Can you provide a document showing that you've taken a legitimate and certified exam of the Russian language? Could you pass a Russian language exam if needed again? If so, welcome.
Oct. 27th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)
How are you?
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