Being and Becoming Australian



This chapter is based on the same data set used in Chapter 5 to support the argument that the Australian citizenship debate is currently split between liberal and conservative opinions. The liberal voice, consisting of the intelligentsia and refugee advocates, considers the citizenship test in particular to be an unnecessary burden placed on refugees and immigrants that is unacceptable in a diasporic and cosmopolitan world. On the other hand, the conservative view supports the citizenship test, arguing that refugees in particular are not keen to integrate, but are perceived as seeking citizenship for its benefits, such as the Australian passport and the social welfare entitlements. It is the conservative view that seems to prevail, hence the negative perceptions of refugees and migrants, who are not well received by some sections of Australian society. This chapter extends the discussion in Chapter 5 by arguing that we need to recast notions of citizenship, national identity and belonging in a manner that challenges predominant western-oriented understandings.


English Language Literacy English Language Skill Refugee Background Australian Citizenship Citizenship Test 
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Copyright information

© Finex Ndhlovu 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New EnglandAustralia

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