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The Australian Government has proposed that immigrants take a citizenship test to show whether they have a sincere interest in the values, customs, and history of Australia. If they show "fair dinkum", they will be welcomed into Australia.

Naturally, some see this proposal as heavy-handed or even jingoistic.

In the common sense corner are those who understand that testing is also a way of teaching. Australia has an identity it wants would-be citizens - who will benefit from Australia's freedom, health care, retirement security, and job opportunities - to know and share.

The government would also like citizens to pledge their commitment to democracy, to obeying laws and defending liberties.

We have made a similar proposal in DEFENDING FREEDOM AGAINST THREATS, #2 >

Those who fail the test will be allowed to take it again.

Given that it takes a little time to imbibe a country's values and customs, John Howard's government suggests that would-be citizens be given time to learn about their new country before sitting down to the test.