Australia's "Judaeo-Christian" heritage under test

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesperson has confirmed that applicants for Australian citizenship should expect to be tested on the nation's modern religious heritage derived from the Old Testament and a "Judaeo-Christian" background.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the compulsory citizenship test that measures understanding of Australian values will include questions on Australia's Judaeo-Christian background, as well as its geography and the colour of the flag.

With the citizenship resource manual due for release soon, the Immigration Department's senior official, Andrew Metcalfe, has confirmed that would-be citizens should expect questions on Australia's post-1788 religious heritage, the paper says.

Christian groups had lobbied the Government to acknowledge this background in its primer on what defines Australia and being Australian.

"I think without doubt you can ultimately trace our values and beliefs back to the body of knowledge that derives from the Old Testament and upon which the Judaeo-Christian background is based," Mr Metcalfe recently told a hearing of the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

"We are talking about questions that go to Australia, our values, our history, our geography, our political system and national symbols," Mr Metcalfe said.

"Part of Australia, its values and its history would go to our belief system, so I imagine that that is an area that would be covered in the resource book."

The test will require applicants to answer 20 multiple-choice questions, including three that relate specifically to national values. While the test's pass rate is 60 per cent, applicants must get all three "Australian values" questions right to pass. There is no limit to the number of times applicants can sit the test.

Test will include Christian heritage (Sydney Morning Herald, 24/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Citizenship | Australian Citizenship Bill 2006
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Senate sidesteps bishops' citizenship concerns (CathNews, 27/2/07)
Citizenship test harsh, exploitative (CathNews, 14/12/06)
Bendigo Bishop backs English test for migrants (CathNews, 21/9/06)

24 Jul 2007