Monday, August 27, 2007

Australia's New Citizenship Test...

Two dinkum Ozzies sport their country's flag at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne

OK, eye candy aside, Australia has unveiled a new draft citizenship test that represents a major effort to emphasize Australian values and patriotism.

Migrants who want to become Australian citizens will now have to study a 40 page booklet in order to be able to answer questions on the country's history, political institutions and what it terms as national values, including freedom of speech, religion and association, gender equality, and tolerance.

Wannabe Ozzies need to get to 12 out of a possible 20 questions right, drawn from a bank of 200.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said the test aimed to reflect Australia's balance between ethnic diversity and social cohesion.

"This is part of the government's emphasis -- that we continue to get that balance between diversity and integration correct in future, particularly as we now draw people from so many different countries and so many different cultures," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Would-be Australians should also understand English, he said.

"Whether it's to be able to work or whether it's to be able to mix effectively and be part of the broader Australian community, then an understanding of the English language is important," the minister said.

"We are trying to encourage people to learn English because we think that is the way they will achieve their aspirations."

Andrews said he believed the document would receive the approval of most Australians.

"If a group of Australians had to sit down for an hour or so and come up with what they thought were the common values that we share in this country, I suspect they would come up with a list fairly much like we've come up with," he said.

Like PM Howard said,"Live here, be Australian."

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