Cricket test comment runs in UK

The speed and ease of media releases girdling the globe showed up when CLA’s comments on the citizenship test featured in The (UK) Guardian.

Cricket test comment runs in UK

14 Feb 08:

The speed and ease of media releases girdling the globe showed up when CLA’s comments on the citizenship test featured in The (UK) Guardian. Here’s the story:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/30/australia.international and below is the Guardian article.

See also CLA’s media release.

Australian citizenship test just not cricket
By: Barbara McMahon, Sydney
The Guardian, Wednesday January 30 2008

Who is Australia’s greatest cricketer? Is it Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Hubert
Opperman or Walter Lindrum? The question, said to have been personally
written by cricket fanatic and former prime minister John Howard, is part
of the homework recommended for those taking the country’s controversial
citizenship test.

Not surprisingly, many migrants haven’t a clue who any of the three are and
find other questions equally daunting. Last week, amid complaints that
there is too much irrelevant sporting trivia, emphasis on historical dates
and racist overtones in the test, introduced before the conservative leader
was trounced in the polls, the new Labor-led government announced a review.
The immigration minister, Chris Evans, said he was concerned that many of
the questions were inappropriate for unskilled refugees and put them at a
disadvantage. He said parts of the test appeared to be the result of
political interference and questions were too heavily weighted towards
Australia’s obsession with sport.

"I’m not sure a lot of sports trivia is really what’s important when
settling here," said Evans. "I think it’s really important new citizens
have an understanding of our democracy, how it functions and the values of
Australia."

Other questions in the test include naming the colours of the national
flag, stating the year in which the federation took place and naming the
three levels of Australian government. All will be reassessed as well as
the level of English required – almost that of a native speaker – which may
be set lower. The test is done on computer, which the government also
believes may be difficult for some people without a formal education, and a
written or aural test could be allowed.

The review coincides with im migration department figures that show 9,043
people sat the test in its first three months, with 18% failing on their
first attempt. The highest failure rate was among refugees from Sudan and
Afghanistan. Figures also show that fewer people are taking the test suggesting they may be deterred by the format.
"The test is clearly skewed to disadvantage refugees and humanitarian
immigrants not from western nations," said Kristine Klugman, president of
Civil Liberties Australia. " Cricket is not a high priority when just

eating and surviving is all they have time for."

Howard’s government denied accusations when it introduced the test last
October that it marked a return to the kind of exams used until the 1950s
that excluded mainly Asian migrants under the White Australia policy.
The new government said that while it wants to ensure the test is not an
"artificial barrier" to citizenship, it does not want to scrap it.
Australia admits about 13,000 refugees a year among a total of 140,000 new
migrants. The test can be taken any number of times as a citizenship
requirement after migrants have lived in Australia for four years. The
review of the citizenship test will be completed by April.

Some of the questions

  • In what year did federation take place? (1901)
  • Which day of the year is Australia Day? (January 26)
  • Who was the first prime minister of Australia? (Edmund Barton)
  • What is the first line of Australia’s national anthem? (Australians all let us rejoice)
  • What is the floral emblem of Australia? (Wattle)
  • What is the population of Australia? (approx 21 million)
  • In what city is the Parliament House of the Commonwealth parliament located? (Canberra)
  • What are the colours on the Australian flag? (red, white and blue)

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