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Citizenship

Migrants who want to become Australian citizens have to pass a Citizenship test. According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the test is “designed to assess whether you have an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship. The test is also designed to assess whether you have a basic knowledge of the English language.”

The following are some of the questions asked.

Which of these is a role of the Governor-General?

  1. The appointment of state premiers
  2. The signing of Bills passed by the Australian Parliament
  3. The appointment of the Head of State

Which of these statements about state governments is correct?

  1. All states have the same constitution
  2. Each state has its own constitution
  3. The states have no constitution

What is the name given to the party or coalition of parties with the second largest number of members in the House of Representatives?

  1. The Government
  2. The Opposition
  3. The Senate

What is the name of a proposal to make a law in parliament?

  1. Royal Assent
  2. Bill
  3. Debate

Which arm of government has the power to interpret and apply laws?

  1. Legislative
  2. Executive
  3. Judicial

Which of these statements about government in Australia is correct?

  1. The government does not allow some religions
  2. Government in Australia is secular
  3. Religious laws are passed by parliament

To me, these questions have nothing to do with citizenship and could hardly be called a test of basic knowledge of the English language.

They tell us nothing about the character or behaviour of an individual or the contribution they make to society which is surely more important than their knowledge of our Constitution.

You cannot judge how good a citizen someone is or will be by the results of such a test any more than you can judge it by the clothes they wear, the church they do or don’t attend, the food they eat, or the colour of their skin.

46 comments

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  1. Kronomex

    Answers –
    Q1. To be the rubber stamp of the current gummint.
    Q2. They all want to scare people to keep them in power at election time.
    Q3. Ferals and the opposition should be blown up.
    Q4. Crossed fingers and hope (see above).
    Q5. Corporate masters and Rupert.
    Q6. The government would not allow some religions if Cory and his ilk had their way. Claiming the government in Australia is secular.

  2. keerti

    Added to that a big percentage of native born australians, possibly a majority, could not answer these questions. Most of these couldn’t give a rats! Lets kick them out!

  3. helvityni

    “designed to assess whether you have an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship. The test is also designed to assess whether you have a basic knowledge of the English language.”

    Perhaps it’s a useful test for all Oz born people as well…?l

  4. Matters Not

    There’s many Australians, ‘born and bred’ who would get some answers wrong here and for very good reasons.

    Take the Role of the Governor-General as an example. Does the GG appoint the Head of State ? Kerr did! Remember he decided that Whitlam would go and Fraser would take his place

    Further: Government in Australia is secular? Not sure about this ‘secular’ bit when Parliament opens with ‘prayers’. When ‘monies’ are provided to support religious schools, When ‘taxes’ are foregone on … etc.

    How many people have read their State’s Constitution? And where do you find it?(Apart from Google)

  5. Barrab

    Kaye,

    You are right no test can tell us what a person is and who they are. This test was designed to follow America and discriminate in a more subtle way. It is arguably a new white Australia policy, designed to placate the phobias of those in charge of our borders (not the Border patrol) or more likely those who believe they are on control of our borders (eg: M. Corman etc)

  6. helvityni

    Was it Howard who wanted us foreign born to know about the game of cricket; I still don’t know, and I live next door to the Bradman Museum…

  7. vivienne29

    it’s really a load of rubbish.

  8. Matters Not

    Take this Question also as being somewhat ‘problematic’.

    Which arm of government has the power to interpret and apply laws

    In Australia (and unlike the US) there is a lack of delineation between the executive, legislative and judicial functions. It can be reasonably argued that ‘executive’ arm of Government ‘interprets and applies’ what has been legislated. This executive arm also ‘interprets and applies’ what the judiciary determines.

    Virtually all government Departments (executive actors in theory) have legal ‘branches’ that ‘interpreter’ the ‘law’ and further they draft ‘regulations’ which blur the distinctions between ‘arms’ of government.

    So rather that require a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, the instructions should conclude with the word DISCUSS!

  9. Michael Taylor

    I agree, these are a load of rubbish.

    But I might add that I got them all right. ?

  10. Matters Not

    Here’s a question that should be included to see if they are ‘suitable’.

    In Australia, who really makes the decisions:

    1 A Taxpayer?

    2. A Citizen?

    3. A Citizen who is not a Taxpayer?

    4. A Taxpayer who is not a Citizen?

    5. A Person who is neither a Taxpayer nor a Citizen of Australia but owns … ?

  11. Kaye Lee

    Which of these is an example of freedom of speech?
    a. People can peacefully protest against government decisions
    b. Men and women are treated equally in a court of law
    c. Australians are free to not follow a religion

    I think that question should also be open for discussion

  12. Idlewhile

    Some sensible answers there Kronomex, here few more:
    1. Turn a blind eye to Conflicts of Interest
    2. All states fail to make the nexus between immigration, taxation and infrastructure
    3. The Laberals
    4. Foregone Collusion
    5. The Real Estate, Mining and Banking Lobby
    6. Government in Australia is clueless

  13. Carol Taylor

    Matters Not, and in addition to your comment about the government being secular, then why do taxpayer dollars fund religion based schools? Why are profit-making religious organisations tax exempt? Clearly the Australian government is not secular as it supports religions of its own choice and in fact makes the decision about what is or is not ‘a religion’.

  14. Carol Taylor

    To me any questions pertaining to citizenship should contain:

    1. some knowledge of Australia’s history including the original owners and subsequent invasion by the Poms looking for somewhere to offload convicted criminals.
    2. some knowledge of the voting system.
    3. the rights and obligations of citizens eg. The Racial Discrimination Act

  15. Matters Not

    Here’s another question for discussion with aspiring citizens.

    Why does Australia refuse to become a ‘sovereign’ nation? Why does Australia owe fealty to another ‘sovereign’ Nation

    As for: subsequent invasion. What’s this ‘invasion’ nonsense? We came because of an Invitation. Complete with RSVP. The same sort of ‘Invitation’ of more recent times provided by Turkey, Vietnam and Iraq.

  16. Dan Rowden

    Carol Taylor,

    The test does ask such questions. You realise, surely, that Kaye Lee cherry-picked the questions she used in this article to make her point, which, because of that, isn’t valid.

    Kaye Lee,

    They tell us nothing about the character or behaviour of an individual or the contribution they make to society which is surely more important than their knowledge of our Constitution.

    What? The test isn’t designed to do any of that. How could it be? Matters of character, contribution, skills etc etc are assessed in the migration process itself.

  17. Freethinker

    Just wonder how many Australians can correct answer that questions?

  18. helvityni

    Maybe our PM Mal will be for Oz becoming a republic. Oops , it was the old Mal who wanted that…

  19. Carol Taylor

    Dan, certainly I do know. I was keeping my answer straightforward although I could have gone into Constitutional matters, the Australian Constitution being one of my favorite subjects whilst a law student – yes, other lawyers out there..shoot me. 😉

  20. Michael Taylor

    Carol Taylor . . . you realise, surely

    Yes, she does realise. She’s not stupid.

  21. Dan Rowden

    My question was in relation to Kaye Lee having cherry-picked questions to make her point, not anything else.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    Perhaps you could tell me the point I was trying to make that is invalidated by choosing a selection of questions. Did it ever occur to you that my point may have been broader than you think?

  23. Freethinker

    If all the questions were put forward to the Italians, Greeks, Eastern European and other immigrants in the past Australian will be not as a beautiful country that it is now.
    When I come to Australia 47 year ago I only can say good morning and thank you and do not have any idea about how the government worked.
    My only knowledge about Australia was that it was invaded by the English in the same way that was my country by the Spanish, in both cases “real estate and gold for their kings or queens.
    Nevertheless, Australia did not care about that as long as my knowledge and skills were needed here and they pay me to come.
    Some how I think that the racism have more to do now.

  24. Michael Taylor

    That’s the way I saw it, Kaye. I think it’s obvious to most of us.

  25. Lj

    I think they are good questions, i got every one of them right, so did my filippina wife.
    Yes, the questions may be dubius, but at least they serve the purpose of the person taking the test to mae sure they understand how australians are and that they can at least understand some english.

  26. Lj

    I think the questions in the test are correct and right to ask any person thinking of becoming a citizen.
    My wife who is filippina and myself got them all correct without having to look any up at all.
    we are as we are, and mother Britain still rules. Thank god for that/ At least we got one step left after the highest
    idiot in office the general cosgrove fails to do his job.. if the highest court fails us, then we at least got the queen.

  27. Anon E Mouse

    Speaking of citizenship – has there been any further moves to find out if and or when Abbott dispensed of his British citizenship?
    I was hoping after the election it could be raised again.

  28. kerri

    Lucky I was born here. I would fail this test for sure just as I would have failed that idiot Hiward’s test because I couldn’t give a rats arse about Don Bradman or cricket or sport for that matter. But as you say Kaye Lee I have proved my worth by teaching, working for charity and increasing our population by two who are worth way more than Poodles Pyne’s tribe!

  29. townsvilleblog

    July 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Matters Not, and in addition to your comment about the government being secular, then why do taxpayer dollars fund religion based schools? Why are profit-making religious organisations tax exempt? Clearly the Australian government is not secular as it supports religions of its own choice and in fact makes the decision about what is or is not ‘a religion’.
    Carol TaylorJuly 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

    To me any questions pertaining to citizenship should contain:

    1. some knowledge of Australia’s history including the original owners and subsequent invasion by the Poms looking for somewhere to offload convicted criminals.
    2. some knowledge of the voting system.
    3. the rights and obligations of citizens eg. The Racial Discrimination Act

    And yes, I agree that the test is far too easy to be able to be an Australian citizen.

  30. jim

    Do you know how terrible the Liberal party is ? should be one. LOL.

  31. SGB

    Its funny but as soon as you start saying something about testing for suitabiity we get those that have an agenda seeking to influance the structure of the test, why?Well to influance the outcome.

    Why would you like to influance the outcome of citizenship tests?

    Surely its not to influance the “right” kind of citizen, is it?

    No of course not!

  32. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    Dan,

    Perhaps you could tell me the point I was trying to make that is invalidated by choosing a selection of questions.

    You made two points, neither of which is, to me, valid. The first being:

    To me, these questions have nothing to do with citizenship and could hardly be called a test of basic knowledge of the English language.

    Actually, the questions have everything to do with citizenship. You have me wondering what you think that word means. You can’t legitimately cherry-pick material then try and make a point about its lack of meaning or relevance. It’s a strawman construct. Firstly, the test is in English, and is therefore, by default, a test of English. If you can’t read and understand the test then it follows that your English probably sucks a bit (or perhaps have comprehension issues for which assistance ought actually be available).

    Second, those questions pertain to the exact sort of stuff we used to learn in Cit Ed classes. The Citizenship Test is a test pertaining to, you know, citizenship. It is not and must never be a Culture Test, or sociology exam, or Blood Oath Fair Dinkum Aussie Test, or Assimilation Capacity Test or a Social Values Test. It’s meant to test your understanding of what citizenship in Australia entails, its rights and obligations.

    1/2

  33. Dan Rowden

    Had to split this to get it to post —-

    You cannot judge how good a citizen someone is or will be by the results of such a test

    So? The test doesn’t exist for the making of such judgements. “Citizen” is not an equivalent or in any way analogous concept to “community member”. A “good” citizen is one that meets the requirements of citizenship – who obeys laws, votes, sits on a jury etc. There ought never be value judgements attached to the concept of citizenship – ever, by anyone, but especially government. It’s important we don’t assign qualities and value statements to the concept of “citizen”. To do so is utterly Orwellian. It’s possible to simultaneously be a shitty community member (by someone’s subjective standard) and a perfect citizen.

    The attribution of value judgements like “good” or “bad” to the concept of citizenship is something I’d expect from Reclaim Australia or One Nation jingoist nutjobs. It’s dangerous and opens a giant can of worms regarding moral and cultural judgements of fellow citizens.

    The Citizenship Test is explicitly and solely designed to test your basic knowledge of what citizenship in Australia entails. Citizenship is a largely technical thing, not a cultural or ethical paradigm.

    Did it ever occur to you that my point may have been broader than you think?

    Maybe you should have made whatever that broader point is. I’d be curious to see it as I’m always open to the idea that I may be interpreting things wrongly. For me, given its nature and purpose, the Citizenship Test is about right, its only flaw possibly being that it’s too easy and possibly missing a couple of pertinent questions such as 18c mentioned by Shaun. But, of course, opinions on content and question wording will always differ.

  34. Phil

    The entire test is stupid and utterly puerile – cringeworthy.

    Here’s an idea:

    Explain in not more than 1000 words in total, what you understand to be the meaning of each of the following (provide illustrative examples if necessary):

    a. egalitarianism
    b. equality of opportunity
    c. justice
    d. a ‘fair go’
    e. racial harmony
    f. industrial relations
    g. universal health care
    h.bigotry
    i. conflict of interest
    j. gender and marriage equality
    k. renewable energy transition
    l. trickle down economics

    Applicants for citizenship are encouraged to prepare their answers in advance through participation in the government Program for Citizenship Studies that is free to all who aspire to citizenship.

    Now of course this is never going to eventuate because most of those who claim to govern on our behalf – and in particular I am speaking of the Conservatives and Neoliberals couldn’t give a coherent let alone acceptable explanation of any of these terms – still its food for thought?

  35. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    You have taken one definition of citizenship – that of legal status. I am sure you are aware that many schools and other organisations hand out citizenship awards which have nothing to do with understanding the Constitution or passing some test.

    I understand that the citizenship test is about conferring legal status so those questions could be considered relevant in that context I suppose though largely irrelevant for most people beyond that. I would be very surprised if the majority of Australians got them all right and there is no way in hell you can claim that the language used in them is “basic knowledge”.

    I want people to think more broadly about the contribution that migrants make to this country. Just as I find those questions largely irrelevant in preparing someone to be a productive member of our society, I find the opposition to certain groups based on clothing, diet, place of worship or ethnicity silly. None of those things matter when assessing the contribution a citizen makes to society.

    I am fairly certain you understood that was my point Dan.

    Welcome back, btw.

  36. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    You have taken one definition of citizenship – that of legal status.

    Which, for the purposes of the acquisition of such, and of the Citizenship Test is the only definition and status that matters. It’s all about the context.

    I find those questions largely irrelevant in preparing someone to be a productive member of our society

    Me too, because the questions have nothing to do with being a “productive member of our society” beyond a person’s ability to meet their basic obligations as a citizen (in the formal sense of that term which to me is the only sense that matters for this context).

    I find the opposition to certain groups based on clothing, diet, place of worship or ethnicity silly. None of those things matter when assessing the contribution a citizen makes to society.

    Totally agree. Well, with the qualification that “contribution” is a highly complex and slippery [i.e. subjective] notion. But yeah, generally speaking such things ought have no relevance whatever to the question of whether or not a person “qualifies” to become a citizen. If you pass the character and Cit Test then that’s good enough for me. Any other criteria, especially value based ones, creates enormous issues and potentially takes us to very dark places.

    Welcome back, btw.

    Cheers for that.

  37. Kyran

    What a hoot!
    It seems only appropriate to quote little johnnie;
    “JOHN HOWARD: The truth is that people come to this country because they want to be Australians. The irony is that no institution or code lays down a test of Australianness. Such is the nature of our free society.
    We expect all who come here to make an overriding commitment to Australia, its laws, and its democratic values. We expect them to master the common language of English and will help them to do so.”

    That was from 2006. After the Cronulla riots. After he’d agreed to a war that would create refugee’s without accepting any responsibility for them. It was around the time he was espousing Australia as a ‘mono cultural’ society that would only tolerate a ‘multicultural’ society if they would contribute to the society, without making any demands on it.

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi-7pyY1-jNAhXEi5QKHa2ECpAQFggxMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Fpm%2Fcontent%2F2006%2Fs1555262.htm&usg=AFQjCNEOJ7wQfffZFI-q5QN5RqmGJllE8Q

    I got here when I was six. Thankfully, the greatest trial for Australia at the time was decimalisation. That made me as smart, or as stupid, as everybody else. I didn’t apply for citizenship until my late teens (it was a requirement of both State and Commonwealth public services). At the time, the requirement was you had to swear allegiance to the Queen.
    I had the honour of going to a citizenship ceremony for a refugee from Myanmar, about a year ago. This kid had to jump through hoops for that privilege, many of them as confected as me swearing allegiance to a queen.
    “You cannot judge how good a citizen someone is or will be”
    Is that only for the immigrants?
    For the record, Mr Magrathea is alive and well. Check out his most recent post;

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiYjOnz1OjNAhUFmZQKHX5iDXwQFgghMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftonymagrathea.blogspot.com%2F&usg=AFQjCNEEyX5SmPyDB6aGs5Hk41oSi7sTsg

    Freethinker @ 11.51, couldn’t agree more.
    Thank you Ms Lee. Take care.

  38. MichaelW

    Well I would have failed the citizen test, I hold dual citizenship. So with these idiots running the Country does that mean sometime in the future I could be asked to sit one of these tests and if I fail could be deported… Don’t laugh people, the future is very scary under this Government especially with people like Dutton and Morrison etc. in power.

  39. JohnLocke

    The test is to keep the smart people out, the people that know the answer or questions the answers are the ones who will question the gov role and question the politics. This is one way to keep the population in check.

  40. Kaye Lee

    “Which, for the purposes of the acquisition of such, and of the Citizenship Test is the only definition and status that matters. It’s all about the context.”

    You have assumed a context that was not intended. This article arose from a conversation I had with my husband about preselection and how there should be some sort of screening process – how politics is the only job I can think of where you need no qualifications, no experience, no expertise, no aptitude – there are no essential criteria, no prerequisites beyond citizenship (with a couple of exclusions). That led to discussing entry requirements for other jobs – my daughter is just finishing her teacher training and they have to pay to sit a literacy and numeracy test. One would have hoped that during their four years at university, problems with literacy and numeracy would have already been addressed.

    The conversation progressed to Pauline Hanson and her ridiculous rantings about Islam (or Asians, Africans, Aborigines depending on the dog whistle du jour).

    The title is Citizenship – not citizenship test. My thoughts were about citizenship in the context of contribution to society and how we determine who should be allowed to become citizens. The original stimulus material was this….

    A good citizen is someone who respects others and their property.
    He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first.
    He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say.
    He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves.
    He/she respects the environment and does not damage it in anyway.
    He/she works hard.
    He/she is well mannered and pleasant.
    He/she is always willing to learn

    The test was not the main thrust of what I was trying to say.

  41. helvityni

    I tick all boxes in Kaye’s post, but know nofink about sport, should that be SPORT…. 🙂

  42. Freethinker

    Kaye said:
    The title is Citizenship – not citizenship test. My thoughts were about citizenship in the context of contribution to society and how we determine who should be allowed to become citizens. The original stimulus material was this….

    A good citizen is someone who respects others and their property.
    He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first.
    He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say.
    He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves.
    He/she respects the environment and does not damage it in anyway.
    He/she works hard.
    He/she is well mannered and pleasant.
    He/she is always willing to learn

    Kaye, I can name few politicians that will not be able to tick all the above points.

  43. Kaye Lee

    Freethinker,

    I can think of a few who would also have problems with the literacy and numeracy test my daughter had to sit.

  44. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    The title is Citizenship – not citizenship test. My thoughts were about citizenship in the context of contribution to society and how we determine who should be allowed to become citizens. The original stimulus material was this….

    A good citizen is someone who respects others and their property.
    He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first.
    He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say.
    He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves.
    He/she respects the environment and does not damage it in anyway.
    He/she works hard.
    He/she is well mannered and pleasant.
    He/she is always willing to learn

    Let me be absolutely clear on this – are you suggesting that these considerations be part of official criteria for determining if a person ought be granted citizenship? Or are you just tossing that “stimulus material” out there for discussion?

  45. Kaye Lee

    No Dan, I am not suggesting that should be the criteria for granting citizenship. (She sighs indulgently) And yes, I am tossing it out there for discussion. I would even go further – my verandah dreaming makes me think about how we can encourage such behaviour from all citizens, myself included. Who gives a damn about peripheral stuff like if you eat halal food or what the coat of arms symbolises. I am on a continual self-improvement program (not always successfully – I often regress).

  46. Jaquix

    This is an absolutely ridiculous “test”. A few years ago someone ran a survey of resident Australians, to see how they went. Not many got it 100% right. If they used a test like this as a pre-requisite for VOTING IN A FEDERAL ELECTION then I might support it !

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