Submission to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs on the merits of a formal citizenship test Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
In this submission, PIAC responds to a number of questions raised in the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs’ Discussion Paper, ‘Australian Citizenship: More than just a ceremony’. The submission responds in three sections: Section 2: Adequacy of the present system, dealing with the nature of citizenship and the necessity of new system of citizenship assessment; Section 3: The impact of a formal test, dealing with the potential adverse impacts of formal testing; and Section 4: The nature of the test, dealing with the steps that might be taken to minimise the risk of inequality and abuse arising from such a test.PIAC concludes that the introduction of a formal citizenship test would necessitate a re-interpretation of the notion of citizenship that has informed Australian law and policy since 1948. A formal test may make Australian citizenship an institution based not simply on political enfranchisement and mutual respect for the rule of law but one based also on language and personal beliefs. Such a re-casting of the responsibilities and nature of citizenship is, in PIAC’s view, both unnecessary and undesirable.