A monarch without a monarchy

Irfun Yusuf points out some problems with the sample citizenship test released by the Federal government. Here’s a real doozy

15. Australia’s values are based on the …

a. Teachings of the Koran

b. The Judaeo-Christian tradition

c. Catholicism

d. Secularism

The correct answer, apparently, is B, despite the clear statement in the Constitution that Australia should have no established religion. This, combined with the implicit requirement to repudiate Catholicism and Islam, violates the spirit of the Constitution and probably the letter of anti-discrimination law.

That’s by far the worst, but there’s plenty more. For example, to get full marks you have to say that Australia is not a monarchy (Q5) but that our head of state is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (regarded by most as a monarch) (9). Of course, the questions of who is our head of state, and whether or not our system is a monarchy have been the subject of sharp controversy in the recent past (for example, who should open the Olympics). I wasn’t even sure which answer was supposed to be right on the Head of State question.

All these questions should be scrapped. But if all that is left is a set of easily-memorized answers to Carmen Sandiego questions like “Australia’s national flower is …”, there seems to be little point in having a test at all.

(Via Catallaxy and Andrew Norton) Some corrections and clarifications made in response to comments

Update 21/5

As pointed at by Geoff Honnor at Troppo, Howard denies that the sample questions are genuine. Applying the careful parsing necessary with both the government and the Murdoch Press, I can come up with two possible interpretations:
(i) The Herald-Sun made the questions up, but ran a report with the natural reading that they were from a sample test made available by Kevin Andrews (‘given an exclusive insight’, ‘sample questions highly likely to be in the test’) and so on
(ii) The questions were from a sample test made available by Kevin Andrews, but since it wasn’t part of an official test, Howard feels free to disclaim them

As regards motives, (i) suggests a standard beatup, while (ii) suggests either a trial balloon or a dog-whistle exercise designed to stir up controversy (successfully, though maybe not with the reaction they hoped for). More at LP

33 thoughts on “A monarch without a monarchy

  1. Even if something as varied and hard to pin down as Australian Values could ever be reduced to a multiple choice like this, this really does leave a bad taste in the mouth. For all prospective citizens it will tell them they aren’t really wanted if they answer wrong. Perhaps there is a scoring system involved here, a hierarchy of preferred people to be Australian – J-C at the top, Muslim at the bottom, but I can’t figure out whether Catholic will get more points than Secular because that’s sort of Christian but not the right kind or less points because Catholic is worse than being Secular. (Definitely takes me back to those good old days)

    Actually I was thinking this might be something along the lines of what AR said, but from higher up, a little stir of the waters and see what muck arises. The question and issues arising touch on the prejudices and bigotry of a large chunk of
    Australians, and I’ve noticed our LibNat leadership are inclined to give that a stir when they feel cornered – Aborigines taking our backyards, Refugees (who could be Terrorists, and probably not real refugees) vilely throwing their kids overboard. Could well be a bit of Button Pressing – it’s got them over the line before, to their discredit.

  2. Not being a regular reader of the Hun I will have to accept your assurance (#21) that they would not publish something that is misleading or highly misleading.

  3. I don’t know how you read #21 that way. I was just saying that either Howard was lying or the Hun was – I read you as offering an innocent explanation.

  4. Jack says “The Anglomorphs derived most of their high-concept intellectual inspiration and institutional formations from the Semitic, Italic and Hellenic traditions of antiquity.”

    Not so, at least in regard to institutions. Parliament is pre-1066 Anglo-Saxon, as is the system of adversarial litigation/prosecution, trial by jury and the presumption of innocence.

    Meanwhile, whence came “Anglomorph” – a word unknown to lexicographers everywhere? Is the derivation from ‘morpheme’ (the smallest linguistic unit capable of carrying a meaning), or perhaps from morphology – although the finest minds of Victorian Britain were unable to produce evidence of biological racial distinction for the Islands’ natives?

  5. “anglomorph” is readily explicable:

    It would be also both tedious, and by now vacuous, to repeat in a paper such as this the long history which culminated in the present English system of government (in which Australia also participates) and which is generally known as “The Queen in Parliament”. Also, it must be firmly asserted that not only the word “Crown” but the very term “English” is now inaccurate and “foreign” in use. Continental Europeans use it for all inhabitants of the British Isles and often also for their clearly identifiable overseas offspring (eg. the German term “Englander”), irrespective of whether they refer to Cockneys, Glaswegians, Dubliners or, indeed, Melburnians, without being aware of possible ethnic slights. Among those slights, the linguistic annexation of Celts to Englishmen appears to some particularly obnoxious.

    To avoid such naming issues, not without importance in a paper on ethnic culture and politics, we have coined the term anglomorph for all native inhabitants of the British Isles and their overseas descendants. Anglomorphy thus refers not only to the institutionalized population of a few offshore European Islands, but also to the more or less powerful “antipodean” and otherwise distant colonial offspring of those Islands, whose men, guns and ships exported anglomorphy both the human stock and the cultural and political structures to form a mighty global “colonial” set of establishments. The present Australian state (“Commonwealth”) is one such anglomorph establishment ie. politically and culturally “English”.

    It’s British Colonial speak for “he’s one of us, old chap, whether he wants to be not, and therefore we’re entitlted to speak for him”.

    The quote above comes from Frank Knopfelmacher. If Knopfelmacher was still alive, I’d suspect that he was posting on this blog under a pseudonym. 😉

  6. As a “CONSTITUTIONALIST� the Framers of the Constitution were faced with a petition of more then 37,000 signatures (from Victoria) opposing any preamble referring to God, as people were concerned that the Commonwealth of Australia then could enforce religious doctrines, etc. Hence,, the Framers of the Constitution to counteract this objection, made clear that the constitution was a “secular� constitution, despite of the preamble, and that the Commonwealth of Australia was prohibited to make laws regarding religion but that they inserted Section 116 as to make it clear this to be so.
    The States themselves were entitled to practice The Judaeo-Christian tradition, such as banning Sunday trading, etc.

    While the Commonwealth of Australia legislated for the Australian Citizenship Act 1948, the truth is that constitutionally the States retained their legislative powers as to define/declare citizenship and the Framers of the Constitution specifically refused (See Hansard 2-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates) to give such powers to the Commonwealth of Australia. As they made clear, any person who obtained State citizenship automatically became an Australian citizen (being a federal political status that included franchise) albeit being a Subject of the British Crown (British national).

    Whatever this crap is about some “citizenship test� it seems to me none of the Federal Government members would have a clue what really “citizenship� stands for.

    There is more, lots more.
    For more see my blog at http://au.360.yahoo.com/profile-ijpxwMQ4dbXm0BMADq1lv8AYHknTV_QH and my website http://www.schorel-hlavka.com

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