Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Questions they won't ask you in an Australian citizenship test

John Howard wants to impose "citizenship tests" on new migrants to Australia, quizzing them on English-language and Australian history and values before granting them citizenship. This sort of exercise has a long history, dating back to the "White Australia" policy which held sway up until 1973, and it is primarily aimed at excluding the "wrong sort" (meaning "wrong colour") of immigrants. At the same time, its also aimed at propagating Australia's national myths, a false and sanitised version of its history. So here's a few questions they probably won't be asking.

  • Who discovered Australia?
  • Where was the first Australian settlement?
  • What proportion of Australia was originally owned by its indigenous peoples?
  • How many Aborigines did European colonists kill between 1770 and 1900?
  • What happened to the Aborigines of Tasmania?
  • When were Australian aborigines granted Australian citizenship?
  • When did Australian aborigines get the vote?
  • When was the last legal "abo hunt"?
  • What was the purpose of the policy of forcibly removing aboriginal children from their parents and giving them to white families?
  • How many aboriginal children were removed from their parents in this way?
  • When did the policy of forcibly splitting up aboriginal families officially end?
  • When is the "Day of Mourning"?
  • What is the common-law doctrine of "aboriginal title"?
  • What was Mabo v Queensland about?
  • Should land taken from aborigines be returned to its original owners?
  • Do Aborigines have an equal right to protection under the law as other Australians?
  • Do Aborigines have an equal right to education, healthcare and government services as other Australians?
  • Is it appropriate for the Australian government to spend only half as much per capita on healthcare and education for Aborigines as it does on other Australians?
  • How many Aborigines die in Australian jails each year?
  • Should the Australian government do anything about this?

And finally,

  • Should the Australian government say "sorry" for its treatment of its indigneous people?

Unfortunately, John Howard's answer to the latter is a firm "no".


Meanwhile, there's some fantastic questions they should be asking on Larvatus Prodeo here.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/13/2006 01:34:00 AM

there's a possible apocryphal story of a survey done of attitudes held by 'mainstream' australians. apparently 14% (?) thought "abos" should 'just go back to where they came from'.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 07:00:00 AM

> Who discovered Australia?

Aww, they discovered just about everything in the world.

Well that is unless that extinct bunch of pigmy indonesians count. If so my guess is one of the little dudes made it to Australia before probably being eaten by a marsupial.

Posted by Genius : 12/13/2006 07:08:00 AM

Hey, you're spoiling the message of what a wonderful multi-cultural success story Australia is - for shame!

Posted by Psycho Milt : 12/13/2006 07:08:00 AM

> apparently 14% (?) thought "abos" should 'just go back to where they came from'.

apparently 40,000 years is still within the 'go back home' statute of limitations.

Posted by Genius : 12/13/2006 07:10:00 AM

Meanwhile, here's a question they should ask: "why should be the government?"

They could ask it every three years, just to be sure, and use a funny ranking multiple-choice system.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/13/2006 08:27:00 AM

there's a possible apocryphal story of a survey done of attitudes held by 'mainstream' australians. apparently 14% (?) thought "abos" should 'just go back to where they came from'.

In Guatemala once I saw a sign which read "Indianos Fuera!" (forgive my crappy Spanish spelling). Or, in other words, "Native Americans get out!"

The incredibly short, selective memories of colonisers...

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 08:59:00 AM

Woo cool quiz, I'd like to see a multichoice version we can all play at home!

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 10:10:00 AM

Memories of Christmases with my father's family in Queensland do make me wonder who the hell they could be trying to keep out. OTOH, maybe they're all full up with alcoholic racists...

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 10:19:00 AM

How about:

1. What proportion of aboriginals are dependent on welfare?

2. What is the difference in incomes between aboriginals and other Australians?

3. What is the rate of domestic violence among aboriginals, versus non-Aboriginals?

4. Since liberals started demanding greater welfare services to Aboriginals in the mid-seventies, how has this led to greater social outcomes for Aboriginals?

Posted by Insolent Prick : 12/13/2006 11:02:00 AM

How about: what correlation is there between colonisation, dislocation, resource theft, genocide, and human rights abuses relevant to any disproportional representation in the topics Insolent Prick has raised ?

According to a Torres Straight Islander friend, the last legal "Abo hunt" was in Queensland in 1964. Has anyone seen any documentary evidence to support it ?

Posted by Mikaere Curtis : 12/13/2006 11:35:00 AM

"liberals started demanding greater welfare services to Aboriginals in the mid-seventies" ?

Racist drivel born of ignorance. As recently as the late 60s there were still a few successful aboriginal-owned dairy farms in the NSW North Coast/Queensland border area. With the ongoing attitude of 'what are those bloody boongs doing on that good land?' prevalent in the local National party they're now a thing of the past. Been to the Healesville wildlife sanctuary outside Melbourne? A thriving Aboriginal co-operative with its own bakery and machine shop flourished on the site for over fourty years. The powers that be decided that a tourist attraction was more important. There are countless examples of pillage over the last 200 years. The only reason things are somewhat better for Maori is that they had the relative numbers to fight for whatever they've retained.
You haven't a clue about Australian history, and your pathetic myth of white supremacy is built on infantile hogwash.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 02:36:00 PM

We are so tolerant.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 03:05:00 PM


As Aboriginals are over-represented in these statistics, I would like to hear your explanation as to why this is the case.

I would seriously enjoy that. Honestly. Do tell.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 04:47:00 PM

"As Aboriginals are over-represented in these statistics, I would like to hear your explanation as to why this is the case.

I would seriously enjoy that. Honestly. Do tell."

As an addition to this, IP, why do you think similar situations are played out in many displaced indigenous populations around the world?

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 05:17:00 PM


I would have thought your query was succinctly addressed by Mikaere, three comments prior to yours.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 06:50:00 PM


Mikaere asked a specific question about potential causes. I want to leave it wide open for I/P to answer. I'd like to know what answers he thinks are even possible to such questions.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 07:54:00 PM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 09:07:00 PM

I like the way they are going to test potential Australians on their understanding of "mateship" and "having a go"

WTF ? How do you judge a correct answer to these questions. I guess they will use situational multi choice...

"Question 14
You are at your local place of worship and are approached by your mate who asks you to assist him in building a truck bomb.

Do you:
(a) Dob him in
(b) Have it a go"

Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 09:35:00 PM

Yeah, aren't those Australians bastards. I just can't stand people who will abuse others based purely on their ethnic origin.


Posted by Anonymous : 12/13/2006 10:45:00 PM

[Poste don behalf of "dfr". The original version of this comment (12/13/2006 09:07:41 PM) was deleted at the request of the author, as they had intended it to be anonymous.]

there's a possible apocryphal story of a survey done of attitudes held by 'mainstream' australians. apparently 14% (?) thought "abos" should 'just go back to where they came from'.

I liked what Raybon Kan said, some years ago now, during one of the periodic "Asians go home" kerfuffles. "No, no," he said. "Don't do that to me. Don't make me go back to Masterton."

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/13/2006 11:50:00 PM

i/p. seriously mate, why you troll websites is beyond me ol'chum. back to bottom smacking in the auckland club with you!

and woppo. the story of healesville is more harrowing than you indicate. it used to be an aboriginal reserve called coranderrk, and was one of the most sucessful hops-grower in the region in the 1860s. local whites decided that they couldn't have blacks out-performing them, and agitated to have the reserve closed.

this too-ed and fro-ed up until the 1920s when the whites finally won. the blacks kind of hung around and scrapped by until present.

this is all documented in a book by M.F. Christie called "Aboriginals in Colonial Victoria".

colonial australia systematically destroyed the social fabric of aboriginal groups, and the current state of affairs is the direct result of that treatment.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/14/2006 07:25:00 AM