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The new Australian citizenship test which assesses prospective new citizens on their understanding of Australian civics and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship commences Monday 19 October.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the new test is based on the pledge of commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens. Topics include Australia’s democratic beliefs, laws and government as well as the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

The 20 multiple-choice questions in the new test have been written in plain English and will be conducted in English only. All test questions have been drawn from the testable section of the revised citizenship test resource book, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, which was launched in September.

The new test is not a general knowledge quiz about Australia,’ Senator Evans said. ‘We want people applying for citizenship to understand the values of Australian society, our democratic beliefs, our rights and our system of law and what it means to be an Australian citizen. ‘All prospective citizens should understand those concepts so all of the questions in the new citizenship test focus on the commitments that new citizens make in the pledge.’

The new test was developed after an independent review of the old citizenship test last year found that it could be improved by focusing on the pledge of commitment. People will now need to answer 75 per cent per cent or 15 of the 20 questions correctly to pass – up from 60 per cent under the old test.

However, the mandatory questions have been removed to make the test fairer. All questions are now equally important and a person can no longer answer 19 out of 20 questions correctly and still fail the test because they answered one of the three mandatory questions incorrectly. A citizenship course is also under development to help a small group of disadvantaged people, who for a range of reasons, such as limited literacy and schooling, are likely to struggle when preparing for and sitting a formal computer-based test.

This will ensure that we encourage people to become citizens without the test being a barrier,’ Senator Evans said. The citizenship test resource book, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, and practice citizenship test are available online.

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From 31 October 2009, the South Australian Government Financing Authority (SAFA) has announced it will not accept any further applications from General Skilled Migration (GSM) applicants who wish to lodge a capital investment, as it will close the scheme.

Since the announcement of the reopening of the capital investment scheme by SAFA on 29 January 2009, the department has contacted all applicants whose cases had been assessed and who indicated they intended to lodge a capital investment.

Any applicants who have indicated on their application form that they intend to lodge a capital investment, but have not yet done so, are advised to finalise their capital investment before the scheme is closed.

Applicants who did not indicate on their application form that they intended to lodge a capital investment, but now wish to do so because they will be relying on the five bonus points to meet the Point Test, should also contact the department and finalise their capital investment before the scheme is closed.

This is the final opportunity for all pre 1 September 2007 GSM applicants to lodge a capital investment. As there will be no further capacity for applicants to make a capital investment to gain the bonus five (5) points, the department will not provide applicants any additional time to make a capital investment once the scheme offered by SAFA closes. Please note that this also applies to those applicants who have appealed to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and those applicants seeking judicial review.

Applicants who still intend to make a capital investment are strongly urged to do so before 31 October 2009.

Please note that only SAFA provides an approved designated security that enables an applicant for a pre-1 September 2007 GSM visa to be awarded bonus points for making a capital investment.

For more information  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/capital-investment-scheme-faqs.htm

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There are a number of changes being made to the citizenship test. The key changes are:                                                                                                    citizenship

  • the test questions will be rewritten in plain English
  • the test will not contain any mandatory questions
  • the current pass mark will increase from 60 per cent to 75 per cent
  • the test will be based on the Pledge of Commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens.

The new citizenship test is planned to begin in late September 2009. The revised citizenship test resource book, which will contain all the information needed to prepare for the test, will be available from late August 2009.

You will be able to sit the new citizenship test in the same locations as with the current test including all 13 department offices, 30 Medicare offices and 4 Centrelink offices across Australia.

Will the new test be easier?

No. The test will continue to assess whether clients have an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship and possess a basic level of English.

Will the test only be in English?

Yes. The government is committed to the citizenship test being delivered in plain English.

If I have already passed a test will I have to sit another one if there are any changes?

No. You will not have to sit another test if you have already passed a test.

Can I make a booking to sit the new test now?

No. Appointments for the new test will not be available until the revised resource book is released in late August 2009.

Can I get a copy of the new test questions?

No. As with the current test questions, the new test questions will be confidential. However, practice questions will be available in the revised resource book and on this website.

Will assistance to complete the test still be available?

Yes. If you have difficulty reading or are unable to operate a computer you will be able to request help from a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officer during a standard 45 minute test. The department officer will be able to assist you by reading aloud the test questions and answers or by operating the computer. Please ensure you request assistance at the time you make your test booking.

Source  :  http://www.citizenship.gov.au/test/changes/

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About 200 students at an exclusive boys school have been told to stay home as 10 new cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Western Australia.

The WA health department said the latest cases – ratified on Sunday – lifted the number of confirmed cases in the state to 14.

On Saturday, the department reported that an 11-year-old boy from Scotch College and a 23-year-old woman who had visited Melbourne tested positive and were in home quarantine.

Of the 14 cases, nine are children, communicable disease control acting director Paul Effler said.

The nine children, all aged about 11, are at three Perth schools including six at Scotch College, two at Christ Church Grammar School and one at East Claremont primary school, all in Perth’s affluent western suburbs.

“We’re now working with schools to discuss the best course forward,” Dr Effler said.

“We’re recommending partial closure or in the case of a small school closure for a limited time.”

Scotch College acting headmaster Peter Freitag said about 200 students in years six and seven would stay home this week.

“We’ve been advised to go for a week,” Mr Freitag said.

No one infected with the virus in WA has been hospitalised and all were on their way to a full recovery from the virus, Mr Effler said.

Source :  http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/5634449/wa-swine-flu-cases-increase/

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Two more swine flu cases in WA, Scotch College student ill

NEARLY 100 staff and students at WA’s exclusive Scotch College are being tested for swine flu after an 11-year-old boy fell ill with the virus.

Eleven-year-old Scotch College student, Harry, who returned from Melbourne on June 1, has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

A 23-year-old woman, who returned from Melbourne on June 3, was also confirmed to have it.

Harry had flown to Melbourne with a youth football team and on returning to Perth went on a school music camp before developing symptoms.

He did not return to school after the camp because he was feeling sick.

“I had a really burning temperature,” Harry said yesterday from home quarantine.

“It was really hot. I was sweating.”

Harry’s mother, Jennifer, said: “It was a really big shock. If there was no talk of swine flu and no Melbourne issue I would have just thought it was the same old cold or flu he has had before.”

Eighty-nine students and 10 staff also on the Scotch College camp are being tested for the virus and anyone with flu-like symptoms is being urged to stay home.

Four teammates suffering “flu symptoms’

It is believed four other boys in Harry’s football team are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Scotch College acting principal Peter Freitag said there were no immediate plans to close the school down.

“It would be very difficult to close the school,” he said.

“It’s a boarding school, we have 170 boarders.

“We wouldn’t want to close the school unless we have to.

“At this stage we’re not anywhere near that.”

However, Health Department’s communicable disease control director Paul Effler did not rule out temporarily closing the school if students on the music camp tested positive to swine flu and had since been to school.

WA flu tally reaches four

The Health Department confirmed that WA’s swine flu tally had reached four.

“We are contacting the students, parents and teachers who participated in these events with the young boy and the close contacts of the young woman,” Dr Effler said.

“The close contacts of the cases have been asked to remain in home quarantine and have been provided with anti-viral medication as a precaution.

“The school has been very co-operative in helping us reach students, families and staff in a timely manner.”

More than 1000 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Australia, with the most in the eastern states.

On Thursday the Health Department issued a statement extending its voluntary quarantine policy for children who have recently travelled to areas affected by swine flu, including Victoria.

Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic because in most instances the swine-flu virus appeared to cause a relatively mild illness.

“I would encourage people to make sure they cover their nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, to wash their hands frequently (and) most importantly, stay home if you are sick to limit the spread of the viruses in our community,” he said.

Dr Effler said people should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people in vulnerable groups, including those aged over 65 and under five.

While the influenza vaccine won’t protect against the new strain of swine influenza, it will protect against serious illness caused by seasonal influenza.

If you think you have swine flu phone your doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For more information on swine flu visit 

Department of Health website  www.health.wa.gov.au

Source  www.news.com.au

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WHILE the plunge in western suburbs property prices is common knowledge, at least one prominent millionaire is willing to test the waters.

 

Eileen Bond, ex-wife of businessman Alan Bond, wants to sell one of her plush Peppermint Grove homes.  eileen
The View St mansion, which is on the market for $6.35 million, has been used as a guesthouse for “Big Red’s” family and friends since she moved to Leake St to live behind her daughter, Jody, three years ago.

Real estate agent William Porteous said Ms Bond was downsizing and looking for something more practical.

Her daughter lives in another part of Peppermint Grove and so she bought a house directly behind her daughter’s which is just more practical for their day-to-day lives,” he said.

Jody Fewster lives with her husband, Damian, and their two sons, aged six and 10.

Ms Fewster said they had always been a close family.

We even lived in View St with her for a short time when we first came back from Sydney; it’s a fantastic house, she said.

Ms Fewster said her house was attached to her mother’s through an adjoining room and gymnasium.

We love having mum here, we have a ready-made babysitter, she said. Ms Fewster said the View St home held precious family memories.

I really miss the tennis court there, she said. At Christmas we’d all be out there playing cricket under the lights.

The classic Italianate residence has four bedrooms and four bathrooms, and a marble ensuite to the master bedroom.

It also has a swimming pool and a two-storey foyer, and is on a 1500sqm block.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Entertainment

Entertainment

The sun shone. The beer flowed. The Four’n Twenty meat pies were a hit. The Aussies thrashed the Poms. The Americans were largely clueless about what they were watching.

That sums up the second annual Westfield Hollywood Ashes cricket match held on the picturesque Woodley Park cricket field in Los Angeles on Saturday, with retired Australian paceman victory.

leading a team of Australian celebrities and ring-ins to a 29 run victory.

England were the favourites for the Twenty 20 contest.

At last year’s inaugural Hollywood Ashes, England scored a one run upset victory over an Australian team led by one of the all-time greats, Steve Waugh.

With lanky 65 test veteran Graham Hick at the helm this year, the English team also included actor Julian Sands, a star of the action TV series 24, and 65-year-old UK and US Dancing with the Stars judge Len Goodman.

England also had plenty of celebrities in the VIP tent, including Monty Python funnyman Eric Idle and comedienne Tracey Ullman, the game’s official “coin tosser”.

“It is one of the greatest wins of my entire cricket career,” Kasprowicz, a 38 test and 43 one day international veteran for Australia, said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.

“Nineteen years of first class cricket, so yeah, as you can see it is a big moment.

“I’m glowing.”

Australia batted first and set the healthy target of 153, with Kasprowicz the top scorer with 29 not out off 17 balls, and former Perfect Match host Cameron Daddo drawing on his high school cricket days to add a quick fire 23 off 17 balls.

England managed just 135, with Hick scoring 20 not out.

Jessie Spencer , a star on the TV series House, and celebrity chef Curtis Stone, were late scratchings from the Australian team but former Calvin Klein underwear model model Travis Fimmel was a favourite among the female fans in the 800 or so strong crowd.

Fimmel, however, was limp with the bat, scoring a duck.

Kasprowicz gave a one word answer when asked after the victory if any members of his team may be good enough to sneak a spot in Australia’s test or one day team.

“No,” Kasprowicz replied.

Daddo was not so sure.

“I disagree with that,” LA-based Daddo, 44, who has appeared in numerous US TV series including 24, Without a Trace and Boston Legal, said.

“I think Travis has a good shot and I think I can carry the drinks for the test team.”

The biggest laugh came when an American spectator watching her first cricket game asked why it was called “The Ashes”.

“Who died?” she asked.

http://www.thewest.com.au

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