Mon, Aug 27, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Australia releases draft of new citizenship test

AFP , SYDNEY

Migrants who want to become Australian citizens will have to correctly identify the country's prime minister and national flower, a new draft citizenship test released yesterday showed.

In a 40-page document outlining citizenship application procedures, the government has detailed the country's history, political institutions and what it terms national values.

These values include freedom of speech, religion and association, gender equality, tolerance and compassion, government officials said.

To gain Australian citizenship, migrants must respond correctly to 12 out of a possible 20 questions that will be drawn from a bank of 200.

Candidates could be asked to give the year of European settlement, name the colors on the flag or write down the first line of the national anthem.

Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said the test aimed to reflect Australia's balance between ethnic diversity and social cohesion.

"This is part of the government's emphasis -- that we continue to get that balance between diversity and integration correct in future, particularly as we now draw people from so many different countries and so many different cultures," he said in Melbourne.

Migrants who wish to become Australians should also understand English, he said.

"Whether it's to be able to work or whether it's to be able to mix effectively and be part of the broader Australian community, then an understanding of the English language is important," Andrews said.

"We are trying to encourage people to learn English because we think that is the way they will achieve their aspirations," he said.

Andrews said he believed the document established a fair set of values that would receive the approval of most Australians.

"If a group of Australians had to sit down for an hour or so and come up with what they thought were the common values that we share in this country, I suspect they would come up with a list fairly much like we've come up with," he said.

The new citizenship test is expected to begin being used later this year.

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