New citizens will need to know about “mateship” and what it means to get a “fair go”, but Don Bradman and billiards champion Walter Lindrum have been left out of the nation’s revamped citizenship test. Unveiling details of the new test yesterday, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said it was more important for migrants to know about their rights and responsibilities than “trivial Australiana” such as facts about the late Sir Don. “I want people applying to Australian citizenship to know things such as under Australia’s domestic law, domestic violence is illegal, that you’re not entitled to hit women in Australia,” Senator Evans said. “That seems to me to be much more relevant than understanding whether Don, whether Walter Lindrum, was good at billiards.”

But before they pledge their oath of allegiance, prospective citizens will be able to learn about the Don, Dick Smith, Eddie Mabo and even lesser-known figures such as gynaecologist Catherine Hamlin in a “non-testable” section of the new citizenship book. The book explains such helpful phrases as “mateship” — “When my car broke down, the other drivers helped to push it in the spirit of mateship” — and “try your luck” — “Every year, I try my luck and bet $10 on a horse in the Melbourne Cup” — but skips prime ministerial favourites such as “fair shake of the sauce bottle”.

Under changes that passed through parliament yesterday — the 60th anniversary of Australian citizenship — people with physical or mental disabilities will not have to sit the test, while others who need help will be able to take a citizenship course.

The new laws will also mean children have to become permanent residents before becoming eligible for citizenship. And the rules have been relaxed to make it easier for elite athletes, pilots and cruise ship crews — who spend a lot of time outside the country — to become citizens.

The new citizenship test, to be rolled out from October 19, will contain 20 multiple-choice questions. The pass mark will rise from 60 per cent to 75 per cent. The test is also designed to check whether immigrants have a basic knowledge of English.

To mark the 60th anniversary of Australian citizenship, Senator Evans, who is from Wales, told a rowdy Senate in response to a question from Labor senator Doug Cameron: “It’s a great day for Australian democracy and citizenship when a Scotsman can ask a Welshman a question, while being interjected upon by people from Germany, Belgium and New Zealand. It says something about the country.”

The government has not released the new test, but has published practice questions, which test facts such as the meaning of Anzac Day, the colours of the Aboriginal flag and the role of the Governor-General.

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