Hawthorn, Victoria Australia (PressExposure) October 27, 2006 -- The controversial Australian citizenship test is now getting wide support. Last September 17, a discussion paper on it the issue was launched, and so far, the response was positive.
Proposed revisions for Australian immigration would include, aside from mastery of the English language, extending the waiting period for citizenship from two to four years. Also, under the reinforced Australian immigration policies, skilled immigrants and refugees have to take a formal test to show they understand Australian history, national symbols, culture, the democratic system, and values like respect and equality.
Earlier, Prime Minister John Howard, the main proponent of the Australian citizenship test, was accused of discrimination, especially by Muslim immigrants who felt the test was a blatant disregard for their culture and religion. The Prime Minister however emphasized that the new rigorous Australian immigration policies and tests are meant to instill in everyone the virtues and ideals of Australia. But this doesn't mean immigrants would have to abandon their homeland's culture and religion.
Examples of countries with citizenship tests are Canada, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands.
In a recent a poll, 77 per cent of the population favored the impending revisions for Australian immigration policies.
And even immigrants themselves are in favor of the proposal. For one, Clement Laila, 33, from Sudan says he's ok with the notion of a citizenship test.
"Australia may bring someone who stays here for 10 years and they still can't speak English," Mr. Laila says.
"It is ridiculous. I support an English test. Not a history test though, maybe general knowledge ... many people don't even know the Prime Minister of this country."