Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Aussie Citizenship Test

Yesterday, Mr Howard announced changes to how people can gain Australian citizenship.

Migrants wanting to become Australian citizens, and accept the responsibilities of loyalty, voting and abiding by the rule of law, will now:
  • have to wait at least 4 years, instead of 3
  • take a "citizenship test" of 30 questions, from a bank of 200, and including understanding of English, history, system of government, sporting traditions and mateship.

I will not debate the merits of these, only the political motives behind them.

Mr Howard had two problems: Kevin Rudd's new leadership was still attracting much media attention, giving the Labor Party much needed "good press"; and the results of polls on voting intentions and preferred Prime Minister. He needed a distraction, and just 1year and 1 day after the Cronulla riots (and associated media coverage), he could give some elements who talk of "Aussie pride" a reason to support him ... this was John Howard's way of jumping up and down, saying "pick me, pick me!"

It's all about timing ... and image.

The Analyst