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New citizenship test to assess knowledge of civics.

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Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

New citizenship test to assess knowledge of civics

The new Australian citizenship test will see potential new citizens assessed on their understanding of Australian civics and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship rather than undergoing a general knowledge quiz about Australia.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today released the revised citizenship test resource book, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, which provides the information required to take the new test, due to be rolled out on October 19.

The Rudd Government has overhauled the citizenship test after an independent review by a committee of seven eminent Australians last year found it could be significantly improved.

The resource book was written by educational and civics experts in plain English and divided into testable and non-testable sections.

The testable part of the book focuses on the pledge of commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens and contains information on Australia’s democratic laws and government as well as the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

The non-testable section contains interesting and useful information about Australia’s history, culture, sport and notable Australians including Dick Smith, Victor Chang, Eddie Mabo and Sir Donald Bradman.

'The pledge is about our democratic beliefs, our rights and our system of law, and what it means to be an Australian citizen,' Senator Evans said.

'All prospective citizens should understand those concepts so all of the questions in the new citizenship test focus on the commitments that new citizens make in the pledge.

'The test is also designed to assess whether applicants have a basic knowledge of the English language and will be conducted in English only.'

The new test will contain 20 multiple-choice questions and will take up to 45 minutes to complete. The pass mark will rise from 60 per cent to 75 per cent.

Unlike the current test, the new test will not contain mandatory questions. The questions will all focus on the important concepts contained in the Australian Citizenship Pledge, rather than general knowledge about Australia. All questions will have equal weighting.

'The new citizenship resource book and test will ensure all migrants have a better understanding of their responsibilities and privileges and the best possible opportunity to become Australian citizens,' Senator Evans said.

An audio-DVD on key parts of the citizenship test is currently being developed to assist people with low literacy levels. The resource book will also be translated into 37 community languages to assist people to study.

Educational experts are also working on a citizenship course for a small group of disadvantaged people, who for a range of reasons, such as limited literacy or schooling, are likely to struggle when studying for and sitting a formal computer-based test.

The citizenship website will also be revamped with a new look and plain English content as part of Australian Citizenship Day celebrations. The site will be easier to navigate, with citizenship information presented in a clearer style. See:

The Pledge of Commitment: 'From this time forward, (under God*) I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people Whose democratic beliefs I share, Whose rights and liberties I respect, and Whose laws I will uphold and obey.'

*A person may choose whether or not to use the words 'under God'.

See: Index of Media Releases

URL: /media/media-releases/2009/ce09087.htm Last update: 17 September 2009 at 12:27 AEST