I just got my passport back from the Australian High Commission in Ottawa, with my permanent residency visa inside, so I’m officially allowed to live and work in Australia, and possibly New Zealand, for the rest of my life. Whether that makes me a pseudo-Aussie at this stage, I’ve no idea.
Once I’ve spent two years living there I have the option of applying for citizenship, which will give me the right to vote and access to an Australian passport, though I haven’t decided whether I’ll go down that route or not. They’ve just instituted a really dumb test which you have to pass if you want to become a citizen, stemming from a desire to keep out ‘undesirables’. In today’s Australia that’s shorthand for Muslims, but in the past it’s been Vietnamese, Greeks, Italians, Irish etc.
The logic seems to be that forcing new migrants to learn enough about Australian culture to pass the test will ensure that they integrate better into Australian life, and will therefore be less likely to cluster together in nearby neighbourhoods. It just seems like a flawed plan dreamt up by idiots as a sop to the anti-immigration, i.e racist, element in Australian society. Sure, there’s plenty who claim there’s nothing racist about it, but there’s no argument about white, educated, English-speaking immigrants like myself, just those who are “different”, or “not like us”.
Having said all that, it’s not a problem unique to Australia, with the UK and most of Europe sharing similar concerns, though quite how knowing who Don Bradman is will alleviate the ‘problem’ is anyone’s guess!