Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi says he’s passed his citizenship test, after he was jailed in Thailand because of a “miscommunication” within Australia’s Home Affairs department.
The 25-year-old Pascoe Vale FC soccer player on Tuesday posted on Instagram that he’d passed the test, and is expected to become one of tens of thousands of new citizens this year.
How hard is it?
The test quizzes prospective citizens on Australian history, heroes and rules, while checking for English language skills.
It involves 20 multiple-choice questions that are drawn at random from a pool of questions.
Applicants are allowed 45 minutes and need to get 75 per cent right to pass, or 15 out of 20. This was upped from 60 per cent in 2009.
The first section covers Australia and its people. The second is on Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties, while the third covers the government and law of Australia.
Try out the practice test below:
An 84-page resource book – Australian Citizenship, Our Common Bond – includes references to sporting champions like Don Bradman and Ian Thorpe.
Those with low English literacy skills can be helped by an officer, and assistance is available to those with low computer skills or disabilities.
Anyone who fails the test can retake it, including on the same day.
Generally, all adults under the age of 60 need to sit the test to become a citizen. Before reaching the test, applicants will also undergo an interview.
Once an application is approved, the person will then generally be invited to a ceremony within six months.
There they need to say a pledge – with or without the words “under God”: From this time forward, under God, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
In January, the government said it would update the citizenship ceremony code to force local councils to hold ceremonies on Australia Day.
They will also need to be held on Australian Citizenship Day, which is September 17, and any other days the council chooses.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said he would introduce a recommended dress code for the ceremonies.
“By all means put on the boardies and thongs for the barbecue afterwards with your friends, but for the official ceremony, it’s the right thing to do to show respect in how you dress for your new country of citizenship and your fellow new citizens,” Mr Morrison said.
Once the changes are implemented, councils that breach the new code will lose their authorisation to hold citizenship ceremonies.
More than 80,600 people became Australian citizens in 2017-18 by conferral.
The case of Hakeem al-Araibi
Al-Araibi’s local member, Labor MP Andrew Giles, said he was “very pleased that Hakeem has passed his citizenship test”.
“Andrew is also pleased that the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have announced that his citizenship is imminent,” a spokesperson told The New Daily.
Al-Araibi landed back home to Melbourne earlier this month, after facing the possibility of being forced to return to Bahrain, where he feared torture.
“I don’t have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia. I will die in Australia and I love Australia. Thank you very much,” he said when he landed at Melbourne Airport.
An Interpol red notice, which could have led to him being extradited to Bahrain, should have never been issued because he was a refugee who had fled from persecution.
The Australian Border Force last week admitted that “human error” – the failure of an ABF officer to send an email to the Australian Federal Police confirming his refugee status – was a contributing factor in the arrest and detention of al-Araibi.
“The officer in this case has simply forgotten to send an email. It’s as simple as that,” ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said.
The AFP’s capability deputy commissioner Ramzi Jabbour also told Senate estimates that if the AFP had known of al-Araibi’s refugee status it would have contacted Interpol immediately and ensured the red notice was revoked.