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Friday, September 18, 2020

Changes to citizenship rules to see would-be Australians take a test about mateship and a ‘fair go’

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Australia’s citizenship test will be overhauled to force respondents to study values such as ‘mateship’, having a ‘fair go’ – and that is not acceptable for men to assault their wives. 

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge will reveal the changes to the test’s content on Thursday as part of Australian Citizenship Day.

The new test will also include questions about laws on polygamy, same-sex marriage and racial abuse.

Sweeping new changes to Australia's citizenship test will see respondents face questions about key values like 'mateship' and having a 'fair go' (Pictured: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg bump elbows in a show of mateship in parliament)

Sweeping new changes to Australia’s citizenship test will see respondents face questions about key values like ‘mateship’ and having a ‘fair go’ (Pictured: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg bump elbows in a show of mateship in parliament)

Until now would-be Australians only had to study the ‘Life in Australia’ booklet, pass the test, then sign the Australian values statement. 

From November, a section on Australian values will be added to the booklet – and questions about those values will be asked in the test for the first time. 

Five of the new test’s 20 multiple choice questions will be about ‘values’ – and respondents will need to answer all five correctly to pass, reported the Courier Mail. 

They will include ‘are people free to choose who they marry’, ‘should people in Australia learn English’ – and ‘is it acceptable for a husband to psychically harm his wife if she disrespected him’.  

The booklet will also include advice about camaraderie and a ‘fair go’. 

It offers are explanations on the ‘strong tradition of ‘mateship’ in Australia ‘where people provide help to others voluntarily’. 

Apsiring Australians will face a new challenge from November 15 with changes to the Australian Citizenship test (pictured: Bondi Beach is packed with revellers celebrating Australia Day in January 2020)

Apsiring Australians will face a new challenge from November 15 with changes to the Australian Citizenship test (pictured: Bondi Beach is packed with revellers celebrating Australia Day in January 2020)

‘A mate is often a friend but can also be a spouse, partner, brother, sister, daughter or son. A mate can also be a total stranger,’ the booklet reads. 

The booklet will also place an emphasis on abiding by the rules including the directive to ‘follow the law even if no one is watching.’ 

Advice around religion aims to demonstrate there is no official religion in Australia and religious teachings do not dictate the law.  

Attempts to include Australian values in the citizenship test were rebuffed back in 2017 because of a push to include an English language test

Attempts to include Australian values in the citizenship test were rebuffed back in 2017 because of a push to include an English language test 

Minister Tudge said it will be a vital new way to integrate new Australians into the community.

‘Our Australian values are important. They have helped shape our country and they are the reason why so many people want to become Australian citizens,’ he said.

‘We are asking those who apply for citizenship to understand our values more deeply before they make the ultimate commitment to our nation.’ 

The changes mark the first major restructure of the citizenship test in more than a decade.

Attempts to include Australian values in the citizenship test were rebuffed back in 2017 because of a push to include an English language test.    

Examples of values-based questions in the new citizenship test

Should people in Australia make an effort to learn English?

Is it acceptable to strike your spouse?

Is it okay to prohibit girls from education?

Are people free to choose who they marry?

Can you encourage violence against a person or group of people if you have been insulted? 

Do religious laws override Australian laws? 

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