Australian PrehistoryHistory - AustralianAustralian CultureAustralian IdentityCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other CountriesAustralian Citizenship


Testable Core

Australian People

Democratic Beliefs

Government and Law

After the test

Enjoying Australia Day traditions

Permanent Residency

Taking the Citizenship Pledge

Singing the National Anthem

Waving the Australian Flag

Learning Australian English



Botany Bay

The Australian Citizenship Test

In 1770, Captain James Cook annexed Australia on behalf of Great Britain and in the process, made all of its inhabitants citizens of the empire. These inhabitants had no idea that they were British citizens until 1788 when boatloads of criminals were unloaded in Sydney Cove to give them the first taste of what British citizenship was all about.

Since those beginnings, citizenship in Australia has changed in regards to how it is obtained as well as the rights and responsibilities associated with it. In 1948, Australian Citizenship was created so that migrants couldn’t be deported; however, Australians were still required to declare their nationality as British. It wasn’t until 1984 that Australians ceased being British subjects even though citizenship ceremonies still required a pledge of loyalty to the British monarchy until 1994.

With a fledging national identity has also come a fledging desire to define what Australia is about for migrants who consider Australia a more desirable place than did British Convicts. In 2006, this led to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's implementation of a citizenship test for permanent and selected temporary visa applicants. Ironically, those who end up passing the test often know more about Australian civics and citizenship than many Australians who gain citizenship by birth and are the products of the Australian school system.

Recommended reading for the test is divided in three testable and non-testable sections. The testable sections could be defined as “core beliefs” and concern:

1) perceptions of Australia and its people

2) perceptions of Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties

3) perceptions of government and the law in Australia

The non-testable sections, or peripheral beliefs, is divided into two sections. The first is titled Australia Today and concerns perceptions of Australian culture, innovation, economy and global citizenship. Specifically, Australian landscapes, sporting identity, the arts, Australians of the Year, the market and money.

The second section is titled Our Australian Story and concerns history. In particular, Aboriginal prehistory, European discovery, Convict history, treatment of Aborigines, pioneering, the gold rush, federation, wars, the depression, migration and the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

If the applicant passes the test, they attend a citizenship ceremony and make the kind of pledge that a significant minority of Australians would struggle to make. Those who fail the test, remain as permanent residents or temporary visa holders. Unlike citizens, permanent residents can be deported. Although breaking the law was once an entry ticket into Australia, in contemporary times, it is the most likely way for permanent residents to be shown the exit door.




Australia Today


Sport and Identity

Australian Economy and Market

Our Australian Story

What differentiates an Aborigine from a Torres Straight Islander?

The Convict Story


The Depression

Migration and the Snowy Mountains Scheme

Treatment of Aborigines