Getting citizenship isn’t so easy anymore

If you are a would-be migrant with the intent to become an Australian citizen in the future, you’ll now have a tougher chance of becoming an Australian than before. The government is introducing an English language test and an Australian values quiz that applicants for citizenship would have to take and pass first. On top of that, the waiting period to become a citizen is now raised to four years instead of two years previously.

A lot of people, specially people who were naturalised citizens, strongly object to the new laws proposed by Prime Minister John Howard. I’m no fan of Howard but I do see their point in wanting the application for citizenship a little more tougher. It could help sort out people who aren’t really all too serious in taking on the citizenship of Australia.

On the other hand, these new laws would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for people who are illiterate (not by choice) to become citizens such as humanitarian refugees.

Here are a couple of articles regarding the new laws:
Citizenship test ‘discriminatory @ ABC News Online
Rush to beat Aussie values test @ News.com.au

So, if you are already a permanent resident and have plans to become an Australian citizen, you better apply now while the laws are still not enforced (as far as I know).

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Published in: on December 13, 2006 at 11:15 pm  Comments (2)  

Victoria Burning

There have been several bushfires around the state of Victoria since last week but it really came to a head during the weekend when temperatures peaked at over 40 degrees Celcius. We went to city for a spot of shopping Saturday and was shocked to see that the city’s skyline was covered in smoke and haze. There were even reports of delayed flights coming in and going out of the city because of the poor visibility. With Christmas approaching and everyone wanting to get out of the heat, everyone flocked to the shopping centres. There were too many people in the mall that even the shopping centre’s airconditioning is struggling to cool the building and its many visitors. A cool change came Sunday evening and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

The temperature was quite moderate for the past few days ranging from about 12 degrees in the morning with a top of about 28 at its highest. There might also have been a change in wind direction as the smog around the city lifted. Yesterday’s news of several small fires merging into a big one was a bit scary though. A thick smog has enveloped the city today, accompanied by the smell of smoke and the sight of a weak, red sun occassionally peeking from behind the haze. Tomorrow’s forecast of over 30 degrees isn’t bringing any comfort either with conditions already expected to get worse.

Published in: on December 13, 2006 at 12:42 pm  Comments (2)  

Red Sun over Melbourne

“Hey! Have you seen the sun outside?” asked my officemate. “It’s like a small red disc!”

The bushfires I’ve mentioned before are still blazing away across the Victoria and its effects could be observed from Melbourne even though we’re several kilometres away from the firestorm. The city is covered with smog and the smell of burnt wood is in the air. The smell of smoke even gets through our office’s air-conditioning system.

But I guess the weirdest effect of all that smoke in the air is that it changes the colour of the sun from bright yellow (in reality, it should be white) to orange-red. The sunlight bathed everything around us in an orange hue which reminds me of near-evening afternoons in the Philippines (I don’t really notice the sky turning all that orange here at sunset).

Anyway, maybe I should’ve been more impressed or, at least, weirded-out by the way the sun looked today. But, we were still living in Canberra during one of its worst firestorm events a few years back and I’ve seen it all before. And how much worse it could get.

It just angers me to think that all of this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for some bloody arsonist bastards that maybe thought it would be amusing to start a little fire in the middle of the forest. Thanks to them, there are a lot of people without homes, trees and important structures got burnt down, we are using up our much needed (and depleted) water supplies to put out the bushfires, and our water catchments are getting polluted from all the airborne ash. When these people get caught, they should be tried in court as terrorists for all the mass destruction they’ve done.

Thankfully, it’s still quite cool today so hopefully this will help our brave firefighters a bit in combatting the firestorm raging just beyond Melbourne.

Published in: on December 13, 2006 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment