The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum is urging the Federal Government to scrap the controversial citizenship test, chair Sam Wong said today.

In its submission to the Government’s review of the test, CMCF expresses serious reservations over its value in assessing whether migrants are ready to accept Australian values and integrate into society.

“The proposition that a short, written multiple-choice examination can test whether applicants will be ‘good citizens’, rather than testing rote learning and IT skills, appears flawed,” the submission states.

Mr Wong said CMCF has been consistent in its opposition to the test, which was introduced by the last Government after minimal consultation with the multicultural community.

“We are not surprised to learn that there has been a significant drop in the number of people applying for citizenship since the test was brought in,” he said. “If there is to be a citizenship test it should be transparent, objective and open to public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. It should not be left to the discretion of one Minister and that Minister’s Department.

“CMCF does not seek to downgrade the importance of the conferral of citizenship. For many migrants it is the most important step of their lives, one that should not be undertaken without full knowledge of the rights and obligations it involves.

“That is why CMCF believes the money spent on this written examination would be better utilised in a program of education to equip migrants for their new life as full members of the Australian community.”

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