I have lived in Australia for six years; American-ese is my mother tongue. I am seriously worried about my ability to pass the English language test proposed for citizens. I have no clue what "fair dinkum" means. "Mateship" seems to me to be binge drinking and bullying – did I get it right?
As for Australian values: I am not a sporty type. Rugby, all types, disgusts me; I cannot handle the violence. I don’t understand cricket, no matter how many times it’s been explained. AFL is passable; soccer is a bore. Grand finals, the Ashes – I don’t care.The Australian value of attacking and invading a sovereign nation? I find it truly barbarian. Locking up asylum-seekers for years? Disgusting, immoral, inhumane, unjust.
And the Australian "fair go". Tell me about my "fair go," when I get an extra going over at Australian airports, and when I am pulled aside many times by security agents for how I look … like "them" – whoever "them" is.
I better get my citizenship now, before PM Howard adds more hurdles. I want to be able to vote against candidates who propose laws that are ridiculous over-reactions to some perceived threat from people like me.
Judy Bamberger, CLA member (Canberra Times letter)