The citizenship test was introduced by the Australian Government fairly recently. As a western country, Australia is currently the most recent developed western country to have a citizenship test. However, there is a current debate being held on why is the citizenship test held for and what is the government really testing?
According to the SBS news site, the Australian Government has now changed some of the content that is to be tested in the citizenship test and states that “would-be new Australian citizens will be quizzed on their understanding of their civic duty and responsibilities of citizenship rather than facing questions about Australia’s sporting heroes ” as it had previously asked questions about a Australian cricket player, Sir Donald Bradman and other irrelevant information.
However, when questioned to why was the citizenship test was even introduced, a minister who appeared on an SBS program called ‘Insight’ argued that this test was made to test English proficiency of the ‘new’ Australians. The test was also made to give the new-comers a view on what is it mean to be Australian and what Australian values are? ,while stating all this information in a book that the participants would need to read.
In my opinion, I do not think that this is a worthwhile test as a test can’t possibly test whether the people sitting for it actually believe and practice these values but will only test their ability to memorize and learn facts and information out of a book. The test also doesn’t use complex English but simple and easy-to-understand words. Therefore if the main point of having the test was to test English proficiency, it would be better to hold an English exam and to be able to apply for citizenship, the person applying would need to have been a permanent resident and would have needed to sit for an English proficiency test then anyway.
This test is also a waste of time as the people sitting the test could use the time that was spent on taking the test and preparing for it on work and practicing ‘Australian values’ to help Australia’s community and economy. We have seen both sides of the argument here and to some others who may feel strongly for or against this issue, we can see that the Australian Government is trying its best to please the masses and that it looks like the citizenship test is here to stay for the long run.
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