Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 29, 2011

Thursday, 28th July 2011 – passing the Citizenship Test

The National Senior’s organisation posed an interesting concern in this week’s on-line message – Australia’s citizenship test is under fire for being too difficult for new Australian migrants, i.e., the kind of questions they are asked about Australia as part of the process of applying to be a citizen of this country.  Apparently, some

experts believe that even some of the most hardened Australians could fail the citizenship test which questions people about culture, governance and history. This week the NSW Teachers’ Federation demanded the government drop the written questions and return to a “basic spoken English test” as used in the past.  Migrants must pass at least 15 out of the 20 questions. UK migrants top the list of successes, then India, China, South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Korea and Malaysia.  That statement did concern me a little bit, so I thought that I had better have a look at some sample questions which the article provided. Those questions are detailed below.


I have to admit, that in reading through the questions, there was a complex degree of vagueness about many of them, when for migrants, let alone long term citizens, confusion as to the correct answer would have to be considered understandable. I mean really, all of the answers were and should have been obvious, but I tend to agree with the ‘experts’ in their claims.  While my own attempt at the 20 questions below produced 19 correct answers – I missed out on the passport question [No. 10] which I put down to misreading the question –  it is not difficult to see that the ‘vague’ nature of some of the multiple choices would create problems for many.  Anyway, here are the questions that appeared in the National Senior’s article – obviously people in Australia would be in the better position to attempt these, but the broad concern of the writers was as to whether readers considered the test a ‘fair requirement’ for all potential new Australians, or should the test be abandoned, and the process revert back to the original form of ‘English test’ requirement that used to exist? In the associated blogs that accompanied the article, there was sadly, some pretty racist type comments included, none of which I will bother to repeat here. A broad more positive view seemed to be along the lines that to live as an effective citizen [in any other country, not just Australia], a knowledge of that country in which you want to become a citizen should be a necessity, but the ability to communicate in the language of that country should be a first priority rather than depending on interpreters, 10+-20 years later.  I do tend to support that view, while at the same time accepting that some of the questions posed below would be poorly understood by both current Australians as well as migrants. The whole thing needs to be looked at.  We are expecting new citizens to know all the answers [or 75% of them]  –  I’m trying to think of a situation whereby existing citizens are expected to answer the same questions before they progress to some stage in their lives  – all I could think of there was as part of the process of obtaining license but the nature of the questions doesn’t really fit that situation. Perhaps someone else has some suggestions  –  perhaps as part of one’s first job application, in any sphere – because if we expect new citizens to know the answers, then we should ourselves, and I suspect that there is a certain percentage of the population who would be unable to get 15 out of 20 correct!!!

Anyway, here are the sample questions – perhaps I will hold back on the answers until a later blog –give my reader some opportunity to think about the answers, if thinking time is required!!


Questions 1-3: Australia and It’s People.


1. What do we remember on Anzac Day?

a. The landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, Turkey

b. The arrival of the first free settlers from Great Britain

c. The landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove


2. What are the colours of the Australian Aboriginal Flag?

a. Black, red and yellow

b. Green, white and black

c. Blue, white and green


3. Which official symbol of Australia identifies  Commonwealth property?

a. The national anthem

b. Australia’s national flower

c. Commonwealth Coat of Arms



Questions 4-10: Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties .


4. Which of these statements about Australia’s system of government is correct?

a. The Queen of Australia chooses people to form

the Australian Parliament

b. The government is elected by the people

c. The Prime Minister chooses our Members of Parliament


5. Which of these is an example of freedom of speech?

a. People can peacefully protest against government decisions

b. Men and women are treated equally in a court of law

c. Australians are free to not follow a religion


6. Which of these statements about government in Australia is correct?

a. The government does not allow some religions

b. Government in Australia is secular

c. Religious laws are passed by parliament


7. Which of these is an example of equality in Australia?

a. Everyone follows the same religion

b. Men and women have the same rights

c. Everyone belongs to the same political party


8. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over?

a. To attend local council meetings

b. To vote in elections

c. To have a current Australian passport


9. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over?

a. To do local community service

b. To carry a passport at all times

c. To serve on a jury if called to do so


10. Which of these statements about passports is correct?

a. Australian citizens can apply for an Australian passport

b. Permanent residents can hold an Australian passport

c. Australian citizens need a passport and visa to return to Australia


Questions 11-20: Government and the Law in Australia

11. Which of these statements about voting in Australian elections is correct?

a. People are free and safe to vote for any candidate

b. Voting is by a show of hands

c. People must write their name on their vote


12. What happened in Australia on 1 January 1901?

a. The Australian Constitution was changed by a referendum

b. The Australian Constitution came into effect

c. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was formed


13. What is the name of the legal document that sets out the rules for the government  of Australia?

a. The Australian Federation

b. The Australian Commonwealth

c. The Australian Constitution


14. What is a referendum?

a. A vote to change the government

b. A vote to change the Australian Constitution

c. A vote to change the Prime Minister


15. Which arm of government has the power to interpret and apply laws?

a. Legislative

b. Executive

c. Judicial

16. Which of these is a role of the Governor-General?

a. The appointment of state premiers

b. The signing of Bills passed by the Australian Parliament

c. The appointment of the Head of State


17. Which of these statements about state governments is correct?

a. All states have the same constitution

b. Each state has its own constitution

c. The states have no constitution


18. What is the name given to the party or coalition of parties with the second largest number of members in the

      House of Representatives?

a. The Government

b. The Opposition

c. The Senate


19. What is the name of a proposal to make a law in parliament?

a. Royal Assent

b. Bill

c. Debate


20. Who maintains peace and order in Australia?

a. Public servants

b. Police

c. Lawyers

Answers in tomorrow’s blog, and I would be interested to know  how any readers went!!  J


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