Kiwis bomb out in Aussie citizenship test

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 10:56 21/01/2013

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Thousands of New Zealanders might cross the ditch each year, but citizenship test results show we know far less about Australia than our European counterparts.

People applying for Australian citizenship must pass a test to show they know enough about the country.

Applicants with Swedish citizenship recorded the highest scores during 2011-12, with an average score of 98.1 per cent, according to adelaidenow.com.au which obtained the figures from Australia's Department of Immigration.

Netherlands followed on 97.6 per cent, Finland on 97.5 per cent, France on 97.4 per cent and Switzerland on 97.4.

While Britons scored an average of 95.6 per cent, New Zealanders scored a mere 72.6 per cent, far behind most European countries and Mexico, Argentinian and Colombian citizens.

To pass the test applicants must score above 75 per cent. Practice questions include 'What do we remember on Anzac day', 'what colours are on the Australian Aboriginal flag' and 'what is a referendum'.

Adelaide University Associate Professor in history and politics Paul Sendziuk told adelaidenow.com.au that he wasn't surprised wealthy countries where English was spoken seemed to score well, but said it seemed Brits and Kiwis were too laid back in their approach to the test.

New Zealand was among the countries with the least knowledge, scoring below Macedonia and Ethiopia and on par with Vietnam.

"It is interesting that applicants from the UK, and particularly New Zealand, perform less well than those from similarly developed and wealthy countries," Sendziuk said.

"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."

However, Sendziuk said many Australians would also struggle with 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.

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