Excellent. On the basis of the Draft Citizenship Test Resource Book released yesterday I’d fail Australia’s new Citizenship Test. And if a privately-educated 5th-generation Aussie-Anglo like me can’t do it, I reckon few other Australians would pass either.
But that’s OK, because a multiple-choice “Citizenship Test” is meaningless. Let’s remind ourselves what happened when Apu went for US citizenship in The Simpsons. “Being American” was reduced to a clichÃ©.
And the booklet itself is a gorgeous piece of political propaganda that’ll achieve the following:
- The bitter old Alan Jones listeners Howard thinks he needs to placate will be relieved to see an emphasis on the UK as the biggest source of migrants and Christianity as the biggest religion. They’ll think this will stop the “wrong” people becoming citizens. Once more, Howard is Big Tough Daddy protecting them from the woggy bogeymen.
- It’ll cause Howard’s much-hated “elites” — that is, anyone capable of using logic, analysis, multi-syllable words or joined-up thinking generally — to run around in circles for a week or two, losing focus on real election issues.
- Howard gets another chance to moisten over all those “achievements” he personally considers important but which he could never achieve himself — being a soldier (because of his hearing problem) and playing cricket (because he’s completely bloody hopeless).
- It’ll create a minor black market in the answers to the test, which will appear approximately a week after the first potential citizens are processed.
What’s remarkable is how backward-looking the booklet is… and how biased to Howard’s personal interests.
The words “science”, “physics”, “medicine”, “genetics”, “aviation”, “satellite”, “solar” and “film” don’t appear at all, despite Australia’s renown contributions in those fields. “Beer”, “ale” and “lager” are completely absent. “Literature” appears just once. “Computer” only once too — in the context of the test being computer-based.
Who was the first Prime Minister of Australia? Who cares? “George Washington,” suggested our Korean cleaner this morning with a laugh — but of course most Australians would indeed know more about the US system than our own. Do we really need to know where Phar Lap’s heart is? Will the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympics really be of any relevance in 5 years time?
Are we choosing Australian citizens for the 21st Century, or putting together a geriatric pub trivia team?
One question really makes me laugh, though. Who do members of Parliament represent? This is a trick question, right?