Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC welcomes announced changes to Citizenship Testing Regime

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November 25, 2008

 

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today welcomed the changes to Australian Citizenship testing processes announced this week by the federal government.

Responding to the report of the Citizenship Test Review Committee, the government agreed to accept most of the Committee's recommendations, including: Assuring the testing process only requires "basic English" skills to complete; Provide additional pathways to citizenship for applicants would find a computerised written test problematic; and focusing the test questions on "civic responsibilities and  the meaning of citizenship" rather that making it a "general knowledge quiz on Australia."

AIJAC''s Executive Director stated, "These are important changes which address and ameliorate many of the serious problems with the existing citizenship testing regime. As we stated in our submission to the Citizenship Test Review, the existing test was 'misconceived and ineffective" as a means to encourage the valid goals of encouraging new Australian citizens have both 'adequate knowledge' of the 'responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship' as well as "basic knowledge" of English. The result was not only unfair to some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, but had the unfortunate effect of discouraging many non-citizen residents from taking up citizenship, when we should be encouraging them to do so."

Dr. Rubenstein concluded, "The changes announced echo many of the recommendations AIJAC advocated in our submission and are very welcome. We believe they should go a long way toward correcting the problems and inadequacies of the existing system."


For additional information, contact Dr. Colin Rubenstein on (03)-9681-6660 or at crubenstein@aijac.org.au.

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