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August 27th, 2007

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.


The Sample Citizenship Test (A Dialogue)

1. In what year did Federation take place?

Are we talking about when the British invaded and dropped their convicts here?


No. Okay. Okay. Federation. Right. Sorry. Okay, that's when we became our own, independent country, and threw off the shackles of the British, and were no longer their colony for criminals! I remember that day! That was a glo--

Oh, wait.

Do--do we celebrate this day?

2. Which day of the year is Australia Day?

Now we're talking about when we invaded, right? When the British dropped their unwanted here, and then the unwanted decided they didn't want the black people here, and proceeded to try and exterminate them. I know all about this one. I read about that. What's interesting is that we still call it Australia Day and celebrate it.

What was the date of Federation again?

3. Who was the first Prime Minister of Australia?

Is that like, a president?

4. What is the first line of Australia's national anthem?

Oh, oh, I know this. I know this. Let me hum it for you:

"Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free..."

Don't you find that ironic?

5. What is the floral emblem of Australia?


No, no, wait. That's a joke. Honest.

Seriously. Joke.

No, really, I want to be serious here. I'm making a serious point. Um. Come on, have a laugh. It'll lighten you up. You're so--so serious.

Anyhow. Anyway. Flower. Floral.

What do they make beer out of again?

6. What is the population of Australia?

Including detention camps?

7. In what city is the Parliament House of the Commonwealth Parliament located?

Oh! That's like the big round house, right?

I have a map to that.

I bought off this Aboriginal dude in a tent. He, uh, seemed kinda angry.

You might, like, wanna address that.

8. Who is the Queen's representative in Australia?


Can I go back questions? I think I answered one wrong. I thought we weren't, like, a colony no more. I thought we were like, a real country.

9. How are Members of Parliament chosen?


That answer has got to be right at least once.

10. Who do Members of Parliament represent?



Oh, come on!

How's that wrong?

Prove! Prove to me it's not them!

11. After a federal election, who forms the new government?

George W Bush?

No, wait. Sorry. You frowned so much in the question before. Um. Christ. Is it the Queen then? I mean, if we're still a colony shouldn't it be our lord and masters who do that?

12. What are the colours on the Australian flag?

See, that's an American reference, right there!

Come on!

How am I wrong?

13. Who is the head of the Australian Government?


What do you mean no?

What do you mean it's some little racist deaf dude?

14. What are the three levels of government in Australia?

I think the real question here is why you have a racist deaf dude in fucking charge?

Okay. Okay.

I'll let it go.

15. In what year did the European settlement of Australia start?


What are you, testing me?

See, after that long a time. After a couple of hundred years... What I'm saying is that it's time to address the nature under which this country fucking founded.

16. Serving on a jury if required is a responsibility of Australian citizenship: true or false?

It's just nothing will get resolved this way. Nothing will be made right. Nothing will be able to move on. You'll just start repeating things, you know? Continual bad blood will be there.

17. In Australia, everyone is free to practice the religion of their choice, or practice no religion: true or false?


You seriously can't be asking me that?

18. To be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament you must be an Australian citizen: true or false?

...You are?

19. As an Australian citizen, I have the right to register my baby born overseas as an Australian citizen: true or false?

You don't care what I say, do you?

20. Australian citizens aged 18 years or over are required to enrol on the electoral register: true or false?



Russian Speakers Needed

Hey, anyone out there speak Russian?

My friend, the ever lovely and wonderful Steph Campisi, is looking for people born in Australia who speak Russian, and people who are native to Moscow and St. Petersburg (and maybe other parts of Russia--query her, obviously) who also speak Russian. Preferred age group is 18 to 25, but it's not strict. It's for her research project at University--honours level--which we all want to help her with. What you'll be doing is reading sentences and recording them for her, as well as supplying some basic background info. It's a pretty easy guinea pig moment for you all and will be kept strictly anonymous. Also, you shall get her love. Her love is worth more than my love, incidentally. Just ask round.

If you know anyone who can help, pass the info round, will you?

Lastly, email her at s.campisi@ugrad.unimelb.edu.au if you're interested.