22 Nov 2008

Bradman bowled out of Australian citizenship test

2:45 pm on 22 November 2008

Australia is to modify a test for prospective new citizens to exclude questions on history and culture, and specifically cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman, a government minister said on Saturday.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans said that following a review by seven eminent Australians, the Labor government had decided to modify the test, saying it should not be a "general knowledge quiz".

The test was introduced under conservative former Prime Minister John Howard, and originally included a controversial section on Australian history and culture.

In January, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Bradman would remain part of the exam.

But citizenship hopefuls will now be tested on Australia's democratic beliefs, laws and rights, rather than on general knowledge about the nation.

Mr Evans said the focus of the new test would be on a pledge of commitment that new citizens are required to make.

"The pledge is about our democratic beliefs, our laws and the rights, responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

"It is crucial that prospective citizens understand these concepts so the questions on the new test will focus on the commitments to the pledge rather than being a general knowledge quiz about Australia."

The controversial section on Australian history and culture will be relegated to a non-testable section of a book for prospective citizens.

In other changes, the book for prospective citizens is to be rewritten in plain English and the pass mark for the test will be increased from 60% to 75%, with no mandatory questions.

Bradman, who still has the highest career Test batting average of 99.94 more than half a century after he retired from Test cricket, is a national icon and legend in Australia. He died in 2001.