The Null Device
Australia's government has rolled back some of the more ideological requirements in the citizenship test (which was set by the right-wing Howard government). People wishing to become Australian citizens will no longer have to know cricketers' batting averages or South Australian wine regions. However, they might still be asked about the "national gemstone" and the uniquely Australian concepts of "mateship" and a "fair go".
One piece of Australian tradition remains, though: the equation of sporting success with national identity. To wit, while regular immigrants have to live in Australia for four years to apply for citizenship, elite athletes only have to for two:
Minister Chris Evans recently defended lowering the residency requirements for elite athletes and others (to apply for citizenship) from four years to two: ''The revamped requirements will create a fairer system for people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are currently ineligible for citizenship. These changes will lead to more gold medals for Australia at sporting events, as well as providing a real win for the national workforce.''Though, other than those points, the test (judging from the article) seems as practical as these things get, covering things like democracy, rights, responsibilities and basic English. This is in contrast with the UK government's "Life in the UK" test, which has questions like:
How much of Britain's population is under the age of 25?Which would be all very well on a TV quiz show, and acceptable (if a bit boring) at a pub trivia night, but is unfit for the stated purpose of the test, i.e., ascertaining whether the respondent is fit to be a British citizen. Unless, of course, Britain is trying to attract good quiz show contestants.
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