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Who should be an Aussie?

Page last published: 23 Dec 2010

With debate raging in Australia about what to do with refugees who arrive on our shores unlawfully, a new book which was launched recently by Shadow Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison MP, provides a timely examination of some of the contentious issues surrounding who should be accepted for Australian citizenship.

From Migrant to Citizen: testing language, testing culture was edited by Macquarie University's Professor Martina Mollering, Head of International Studies and Coordinator of German Studies, together with Dr Christina Slade, formerly Dean of Humanities at Macquarie who is now Dean of Arts and Sciences at City University London.

Contributors to the book, who are linguists, lawyers, historians, political theorists and philosophers, provide historical and international context as they examine the value of testing for local language and local knowledge as a measure for deciding who should be accepted for Australian citizenship.

The book also raises the question of whether citizenship can be quantified and whether some of Australia's richest and most successful past immigrants would have been accepted for citizenship under the stringent guidelines which apply to today's immigrants.

The launch of From Migrant to Citizen: testing language, testing culture which was published by Palgrave Macmillan, took place on 16 December 2010 at the Sydney Institute.