Oz migrants: citizenship test scrapped

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is aiming to drastically change the citizenship test which was introduced by former Prime Minister John Howard, replacing it with a simpler test based on democratic values…

John Howard's citizenship test for wannabe migrants contained questions on obscure historical and sporting facts.

It aimed to weed out those who were deemed not genuinely committed to a new life in Australia.

Fast forward to the Rudd Government and the old test is to be drastically changed and replaced with a far more straightforward test which Kevin Rudd feels will reveal far more about the potential migrants and whether they are suitable for Australia.

The new test, which will be announced by Immigration Minister Chris Evans, will be based on the five-line Pledge of Commitment recited by new citizens, recognizing Australia's democratic beliefs and laws, as well as the rights and liberties of citizens.

The new test will also remove the general knowledge quiz, which includes unnecessary items and obscure questions which are potential obstacles for certain sectors of the community and vulnerable groups such as refugees.

The standard of English will also be lowered for ‘disadvantaged' applicants, such as refugees, who will sit a special course.

The proposed changes to the test have already been welcomed by the Ethnic and refugee groups, who say that it will make migration less discriminatory.

Voula Messemeri from the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia says it appears to be much fairer.

"We have vehemently opposed what was a very hard test, particularly on new arrivals and refugees," she said.

Mr Evans said, "The Rudd Government is committed to the new Citizenship test.

"It encourages potential citizens to find out more about Australia and understand the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

"The changes will ensure that the test does not disadvantage these people who most need our support the most," added Mr Evans.

Whilst these changes may prove positive for people looking to migrate to Australia, in that the questions may now be easier to answer; the pass mark will rise from the current 60 per cent to 75 per cent.

The Australian Government says the new test will be ready for rollout by August 2009.

Picture by photohome_uk