Dan Tehan puts Labor on blast for decline in citizenship test pass rate

Would-be Australians are increasingly struggling to pass citizenship tests, prompting the Coalition to put the government on notice for “not investing” in Australian values.

Amid a surge in migration post-pandemic, new data reveals the pass rate during the first year of the Labor government has plummeted to 65 per cent between June 2022 and August 2023, with more than 100,000 people having failed the test.

That figure is down from an 80 per cent pass rate between 2017-2021.

The test includes 20 multiple choice questions on democracy, rule of law, and freedom of speech; and requires a person to correctly answer five questions on Australian values and achieve a mark of at least 75 per cent to pass.

The data shows between June 2022 and August 2023, 288,603 tests were completed, but only 187,574 of those passed.

Those who have taken tests over the past two years have lived in Australia since at least 2019.

What has driven the lower pass rate remains unclear, but the last significant changes to the test were made by the Morrison government in 2020 when a dedicated section on Australian values was introduced, which applicants must answer correctly or they automatically fail.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles told The Australian the government would “continue to assess the citizenship test to ensure it meets community expectations”.

The release of the data comes in the lead up to Australia Day, with at least 81 councils across the country confirming they will not hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 after the Albanese government revoked a rule in 2022 that requires such events.

Dan Tehan, the Coalition’s spokesman for immigration and citizenship, said the government was failing to send a strong message.

“Labor is not investing in Australian values and Australian citizenship and this is the result, councils are cancelling citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day and pass rates for the citizenship test are failing,” Mr Tehan said.

“The rot starts at the top. The Prime Minister needs to show leadership and send a message to all future Australian citizens about the importance of Australia Day and Australian citizenship.”

Last year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stood firm against accusations his government was determined to kill Australia Day, pledging his support for the day and assuring “there are no changes here”.

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