NZers flop in Aussie citizenship exam

Kiwis hoping to become Aussies don't appear to know their neighbour well, with New Zealanders among the worst performers in the Australian citizenship test.

Applicants from other countries average over 97 per cent in the test but New Zealanders average only 72.6 per cent, according to information released to Adelaide's The Advertiser under the Freedom of Information Act.

Test questions on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website include "what do we remember on Anzac Day?", "what is the role of the Governor-General?", "what happened in Australia on January 1, 1901?", and "what are the colours of the Australia Aboriginal flag?".

Applicants need to answer 15 of 20 questions correctly to pass.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's figures, Swedish applicants recorded the highest scores in 2011-12, with an average of 98.1 per cent, followed by the Netherlands with 97.6 per cent, Finland with 97.5 per cent, and France and Switzerland with 97.4 per cent.

Despite New Zealand's close ties with Australia, Kiwi applicants' average scores were below those from Macedonia, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Adelaide University Associate Professor of History and Politics Paul Sendziuk told The Advertiser New Zealanders may just be too laid-back when taking the test.

"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."

The citizenship test was brought in by the Howard government in 2009.

Professor Sendziuk said many Australians would struggle to do well in 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.

New Zealand does not have a similar citizenship test. Residents can apply to become citizens after five years.


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