Debate on Australian Citizenship Test

Many people are asking the Rudd Government to review the Howard Government’s Australian Citizenship Test as to its fairness. The Ethnic Communities’ Council claims that the test is discriminatory as many candidates for citizenship have failed the test. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, subject potential citizens to such a test to ascertain their understanding of the values of their newly adopted country. Such a test is reasonable as long as it is truly relevant to the community standards of the country of adoption, however, many people born in Australia would have difficulty in answering some of the questions and find it difficult to reconcile their relevance to Australian life.

Relevant questions should relate to the attitudes of Australian life such as: respect for the rights of each individual as long as these rights do not infringe on the rights of others, respect for each individual to hold beliefs in and practise freely the religion of their choice, respecting and treating women and children as having equal rights as citizens of Australia, regarding such practices as female genital mutilation as totally unacceptable in our civilised society, the right to vote in elections for the candidate of their choice, to accept and obey the laws of Australia irrespective of whether one agrees with them or not, obligation to pay the prescribed taxes as determined by the various governments,  to regard each Australian as equal irrespective of their race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion and political views.

This list is far more relevant than asking dates in Australia’s history or the names of sporting heroes. Such questions do not make towards a good citizen but questions on societal standards and human rights will ascertain that the new citizens will join our harmonious  Australian family and enhance it.


  1. 5 February, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I just passed my citizenship test today with 100% pass. There were only two questions on the test about sport, and most of the rest dealt with Australian values, government, the nation (regions, geography, etc.) and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

    Overall I would say it’s a fair test, but English is my first language and I am from Canada, which shares a lot of the same values and government structure.

  2. ananda76 said,

    5 February, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Congratulations, Bill. Welcome to our Australian family.

  3. 6 February, 2008 at 1:58 am

    It’s still going to take a few months before the application is processed, but the test was the part that I was stressing a bit about. One of the sample tests on-line were quite difficult, even though most were easy.

  4. ballcock said,

    4 June, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Ballcock says : I absolutely agree with this !

  5. Chintzily said,

    22 June, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Chintzily!!

  6. miss jennifer said,

    29 August, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    how do our indigines fare on this imperialistic test?

  7. t3rry said,

    24 March, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    What’s a sports hero?

  8. 24 March, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Terry, I think they were referring to John Howard’s hero, “Don Bradman”. Fortunately, the new government has modified the test to make it more meaningful to prospective citizens.
    Hi Miss Jennifer, Our indigenous citizens do not need a citizenship test as they have more right to citizenship than we migrants or descendents of migrants. Perhaps the test could feature more questions about the culture of the original Australians.
    Be happy,

    • Ken said,

      7 September, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      G’day there Graeme,

      Why do our indigenous citizens have more right to citizenship than me & my family? I’ve been here in the country for longer than any indigenous person born after 18 July 54. I accept the mores and standards of our society. I care for the land & the people. Please explain why my claim is less than theirs.

      See ya

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