Kiwis perform poorly on Aussie citizenship test

By Paul Harper

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo / Ross Setford
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo / Ross Setford

Kiwis hoping to become Aussies don't appear to know our neighbours' country well, with New Zealanders among the worst performers in the Australian citizenship test.

While applicants from Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, France and Switzerland average over 97 per cent in the test, New Zealanders applying for citizenship average only 72.6 per cent, according to information released to Adelaide's The Advertiser under the Freedom of Information Act.

---
Try the Australian citizenship test here
---

Applicants face questions about Australian culture, history and political system. Test questions on the Department of Immigration and Citizenships website include "what do we remember on Anzac Day?", "what is the role of the Governor-General?", "what happened in Australia on January 1, 1901?", and "what are the colours of the Australia Aboriginal flag?".

Applicants need to answer 15 out of 20 questions (75 per cent) correctly to pass.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's figures, Swedish applicants recorded the highest scores in 2011-12, with an average of 98.1 per cent, followed by the Netherlands with 97.6 per cent, Finland with 97.5 per cent, and France and Switzerland with 97.4 per cent.

Despite New Zealand's close ties with Australia, Kiwi applicants' average scores were below those from Macedonia, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Adelaide University Associate Professor in history and politics Paul Sendziuk told The Advertiser New Zealanders may just be too laid back when taking the test.

"It is possible that they do not study enough because they feel that they can rely on their background knowledge of Australia, which is a fair-enough assessment given the level of cultural exchange that already exists between Australia and these places.

"It is also possible that they take the test a bit lightly - knowing that they are likely to achieve a pass mark even without much study."

The citizenship test was brought in by the Howard Government in 2009.

Professor Sendziuk told The Advertiser many Australians would struggle to do well in the test.

"The students in one of my classes took the citizenship test, and very few achieved a score over 90. But I don't think this makes them bad Australians," he said.

New Zealand does not have a citizenship test like Australia. Instead, residents can apply to become citizens after five years.

- nzherald.co.nz

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 22 Oct 2014 14:08:28 Processing Time: 457ms