01 October 2007

The Australian Citizenship Test

On the 1st of October 2007, it will become necessary for most people who apply for Australian citizenship to pass the Government's new citizenship test.

Now I have a number of of problems with this (I'm not going to go into this in any length (because of how infuriating I find it)):
  • Firstly, there is an inherent unfairness here: Why do new applicant have to pass this test? What about people who were granted citizenship a month, six months, six years ago? Why don't they need to pass the test? What about people who, through being born here, were granted citizenship at birth? Why don't they need to pass this test? If it is needful for prospective citizens to pass this test, shouldn't it be needful for all Australian citizens? If I thought a citizenship test might make people better citizens I might suggest a certain group of people that could benefit
  • Which brings me to the next issue: Why is it necessary to introduce this test now? Is it because Australia is receiving less Northern European migration and more from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and East Asia? People who are seen as other, who are seen as being less likely to understand our way of life? If that's the case, who benefits from the test? Is it the people who have to undergo it? Is it the nation? Or is it really the ruling parties? In the 1998 federal election the Howard government was startled to find that, despite years of multiculturism pushed by successive (mostly Labor) governments, there was a significant sector of the population that was not happy with multiculturalism, not happy with people seen as different. The One Nation party gained appoximately 9% of the vote in 1998, mostly at the expense of the governing Liberal/National parties. So what did the government parties do? They co-opted this newly-rediscovered racist vote. And so for the 2001 elections we had Tampa and the Children Overboard. Then we had the confusion over SIEVX. Then the Pacific Solution. The government parties benefited from all this at the polls and comfortably retained government. Is this new citizenship test a way for the government parties to reactivate the racist vote?
  • And just on this electioneering topic. if this test is so important for the wellbeing of the nation, why was it not introduced earlier? Why is is that this new test (and its accompanying ad campaign, and its accompanying glossy booklet) comes just weeks before a Federal election is due?
  • And as to the information provided for prospective examinees . . .
Agh, I'm too angry to continue this post. But at least I'm not the only one that feels strongly about it.


Crystal said...

Wow! I turn my back for two seconds and your blogging like crazy!
Keep them coming.

carlos lopez librarian said...

Wish. Command. Directionality.

Jo said...

Hi Carlos,
Im Jo-nice to 'meet' you! Anyway i totally agree, plus the so called 'aussie knowlege' is sooo mislead, i bet random picked Australian born people wouldnt know the 'facts' on it!
Maybe when i return to OZ in January they will make me take a test:)
Be good....or good at it;)

carlos lopez librarian said...

Hi Jo. Thanks for dropping by.

It's not just that; it's the sheer hypocrisy of it all: If you look at the 3rd page, under the "Australian Values" section, you'll see a list of values. Which is fine: They're a great wishlist!

"Respect for the equal worth, dignity and freedom of the individual." Sure. Just ask Dr Haneef

"Freedom of speech." Especially if you're a journalist who's been leaked some government information

"Freedom of association." Haneef again.

"Equality under the law." Of course, some are more equal than others.

"Equality of men and women." I won't even dignify that one with a response.

"Peacefulness." Yeah. Iraq.

"Tolerance, mutual respect and compassion for those in need.

Sunil said...

Hmmmm...I think ALL Australians should pass this test. I passed mine last month (I am from India), and I learned a lot of useful info. I mean yes i had to get some preparation training from these guys, but overall I think the test is not too crazy hard, and I would be curious to see how many Australians would pass it.

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