The Australian Citizenship Test is irrelevant

I am a volunteer English home tutor to an Afghani family. There are 11 in the family and only the eldest daughter speaks any English with a moderate amount of comprehension. They are enthusiastic, funny and welcoming. I enjoy it immensely. Saying that they’re learining English as another language isn’t quite correct, as they speak Dari, Farsi, German and a smattering a French.

They all have a burning desire to become Australian citizens; and therein lies the rub - the citizenship test is a steaming pile of irrelevant shit. I have read it and re-read it, and come up with mini-tests and done wall charts and posters and recreated ancient history - but it’s so fucking hard!

At a dinner party last week, some idiot was espousing how “the citizenship test was fair and if they want to become Australians, fuck 'em, let 'em learn what being Australian is all about blah blah blah”. So I threw a $50 note on the table and threw down the challenge “If you can correctly answer ONE of the following 5 questions - that $50’s yours”. Needless to say, my money was safe and people are astounded at just how hard the fucking thing is! As someone commented to me - if every ‘Australian’ had to sit it, 90% of us would be deported.

For interests sake, the 5 questions I asked (taken from a random pool of 200 questions on the Australian Citizenship Test):
Name three artists of the Heidleberg School
Name the three official Australian flags
When did the UK join the European Union
What was the name of the explorer who landed on the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606
What year did Phar Lap win the Melbourne Cup


(Emphasis added.)

Afghani is the currency.

Afghan are the people.

Oh, and it was 1973 that the UK joined the EU. Learned the exact date today, actually. Only question I could answer. Though, to be technically correct, the UK didn’t join the “EU” in '73, it joined the EEC.

My Dari phrasebook states that an Afghan person is an Afghan, the adjective for Afghan is Afghani and the currency is correct as you state. So I will give you a point for picking my inaccuracte description, and a point for knowing about the EU.

Why should anyone care? Sports and games aren’t history, they’re trivia! Nobody needs to know this shit!

And as far as I’m concerned, Phar Lap was a company that made memory management software for MS-DOS. Put something like that on the test instead of that goddamned game trivia.

Wow, that is ridiculous. Is there any reasonably-sized movement against it in Australia?

Vox Imperatoris

I just did a search and came up with this, for anyone who wants to try:

Yeah, it’s pretty…wide ranging.

Wait, what? You did say the Australian citizenship test, yes?

And there’s questions on irrelevant sports figures, obsure explorers and very odd statistics - in all, it needs to be revamped with questions that more relevant to day to day life in Australia - such as; name the 3 levels of government, identify our currency, name the education levels and do you know how to make a doctor’s appointment. I have written to the Immigration Minister voicing my concerns, and believe I’m a tiny piece in the groundswell for changing the effing thing.

The Heidleberg what now? :confused:

Hmm, I’m presuming the national flag with the southern cross and union jack, plus the indigenous flag, the black red and yellow one but as for the third :confused: I seem to recall the Torres Straight Islanders have a seperate flag - is that the third?

This is relevant to Australia how?

Good question? I’m presuming this is refering to the Dutch fellow whose name escapes me at the moment.

Will early 1930’s get me half a point?
Actually this would probably be the easiest of the 5 questions for your “average” Australian to get. I’m far from being a horse racing buff, but I would hazard a guess at 1930.
Personally I’m not a fan of the test and think it should be scraped, but by the same token it would be easy to go through a list of 200 questions and find five that would be considered to be the hardest of those 200.

The problem is I think there has been a knee-jerk reaction and some half assed policy introduced based upon a perception that immigrants are coming to Australia and ignoring “Australian values” (However you actually wish to quantify that). And demanding things be changed based upon how thigns are done back home.

I somehow doubt there is actually much of that going on, but post the Cronulla ‘race’ riots there is certainly a public “perception” that it is the case.

I for one couldn’t care less if a new immigrant to this country doesn’t know what Phar Lap is let alone when he won the friggin Melbourne Cup :rolleyes:.

The Canadian test comes with a study booklet that has all the answers already in it. It pretty much amounts to a literacy test that’s pretending not to be a literacy test. Is the Australian like that, as well?

Though, my parents like to tell the story of how, when my Dad was studying for the test in the 70s, he was told one of the questions would be who the Governor General was, and they had to go to about 10 different people before they found a Canadian who knew.

GreedySmurf and jacquilynne: The guide book is about 90 pages covering explorers, capital cities, populations, the building of the Snowy River Scheme, Ned Kelly, artists, etc etc. There aren’t any questions in the book whatsoever - but the questions asked during the test are split into 5 categories, taken from the guide. The only category that the applicant must get 100% in is Australian Values which has questions about equality, loyalty, the armed forces, serving on a jury and being enrolled to vote. The questions are very tricky and if your English comprehension isn’t great, they are almost impossible. For example:
Carolyn Chisholm:
a) was married to an army officer
b) arrived in Australia in 1840
c) is on the current Australian $5 note
d) died in Australia
The answer is a). She arrived in 1838, was on the former $5 and died in England.
The same question might turn up on another test worded differently, as in which of the following is true of Carolyn Chisholm. If your comprehesion of English isn’t great, then you’re in for a tough time.
The Department of Immigration site states that 95% of people sitting the test pass on the first go - I call ‘bullshit’.
What makes me cross is does knowing trivial shit about a country make you a good resident? Please people - get real here! It frustrates me no end!

I got 40% right in 2 minutes and 34 seconds. But, I’ve never been to Australia, so I’m not exactly in the target demographic. It’s a lot tougher than the Canadian test I took to become a citizen here.

McCubbin and ummm…

The national flag, the Naval Flag and… the Eureka flag as a wild guess.


Must be either Hartog or Janzoon.

How’d I go?

Is just took the sample test and failed: 13/20.

Roberts, McCubbin, Streeton
The Australian Flag, the Koori Flag, the Torres Strait Islander Flag
Janzoon is correct!

sigh … it’s so much rubbish

12/20. When do the jackbooted officers come to throw me out? The only charitable way to view the test is as a test of the combined ability to comprehend english and cram useless info (or perhaps to ensure that immigrants are all history buffs).

I’ve lived here all my life and was pretty much an A grade average student when I did school history and don’t even know who half the people mentioned were let alone what the fuck year they landed here or which city they were born in or other bits of irrelevant trivia about them.

I got two of the three artists correct. The rest is utter bullshit.

Questions they SHOULD ask on the Citizenship Test: (seriously)

#Who do you call (and what is the number) for emergency services?

#How do you fill out a rental application for private (or public) housing?

#How do superfunds work?

#What is the Industrial Relations Act, and what are your rights re minimum wages and conditions etc.

#How do you make an appointment to see a doctor or dentist? How do you pay?

(Not so seriously)

#What is the national car of Aus? A: The Holden Ute

#What’s a Ute for? A: Carting slabs and shagging sheilas.

#What’s the difference between a koala ‘bear’ and a drop bear? A: Not much…they both stink to high-heaven and they’ll shred you to death given half a chance.

#How do you do a ‘hook turn’ (specific to CBD Melbourne)? A: You don’t…instead you drive to Sydney and THEN do your right-hand turn and drive back south again to complete your journey.

#How do you identify snakes, spiders and other venomous creatures like Westies, Bogans and Politicians?


And vice versa :wink:

And by the way, why should any Australian care about some high school art student in some western suburb? Much more important is something like ‘how do you order a beer in different capital cities?’, because if you order a schooner in Melbourne, you’re going to get your head punched in.

The test is fucking ridiculous. The American one is much better, and a much more reasonable test of things an immigrant might need to know. Who gives a fuck when Phar Lap won the Cup?

Australia has a long history of unreasonable immigration tests. Perhaps the most famous case is that of Egon Kisch, a Czech anti-fascist who came to Australia in the 1930s.

At the time, people seeking to visit Australia were, at the discretion of immigration authorities, given dictation tests in one of various European languages. If they failed, they could be refused entry. The main purpose of the Eurocentric tests was to keep Asians out of the country.

The Australian government didn’t want Kisch in the country, so they sought to exclude him using the dictation test. Kisch was multilingual, but in the end they managed to get him to fail by giving him the test in Scottish Gaelic. Kisch, as he was leaving the country, made a last-ditch effort to stay by jumping from the boat to the wharf, breaking his leg. He was convicted of entering the country illegally, but the High Court overturned his conviction, arguing that Scottish Gaelic was not an appropriate language for the dictation test.

And vice versa vis the pot in NSW. :wink:

I think the pint is now universal though…it’s a safe bet, and by the time you’ve downed one, you’re not going to feel the pain of the punch if you inadvertantly ask for a schooner for your next drink.


Serious question, what’s the go with these things? I assume you mean the method of turning right where you pull over to the left wait for straight travelling traffic to drive through then make your turn? Is it to do with the trams? Do other cities with tams do them?