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Today's quote:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Those were testing times

The dictation text as read out to me from a newspaper cutting of the day


On the 17th of May 1971 I sat for a dictation test before the Justice of the Peace in Kieta on the island of Bougainville. The successful completion of this test was one of the many requirements before being granted Australian citizenship.

I am led to believe that this is no longer a requirement. Indeed, your eligibility may even increase if you are totally illiterate, not just in English but even in your own native language, and if you hail from a country so benighted that your chances of ever becoming a productive member of our modern society are less than zero.

And so, instead of providing you with an adequate standard of living in your own country through our foreign aid program, we will be happy to empty on you a cornucopia of all the wonders of modern living which are even beyond the means of many of our own citizens. And should your lifelong dependency on our welfare state compel you to rape and pillage, there are numerous government-funded agencies to guide you through your various traumas and persecution complexes. Even if your anti-social and indeed criminal behaviour continues and the Immigration Department decides to deport you, we will pay your legal fees to fight us all the way to the High Court until the end of your days. If you hire some clever lawyers with whom to share the booty, you may even be able to claim a large compensation pay-out for wrongful treatment.
(It makes growing old that much easier, knowing that we won't be here to reap the bitter harvest, don't you think? Après nous, le déluge!)

But back to saner times before political correctness and an ever-growing list of human rights demands (what about the rights of those who pay for it all?) swamped all common sense and when the likes of me were supposed to know how to spell 'Askin' without ever having met the man:


Dictation Test for Naturalization; Applicant Manfred P Goerman; Date May 17, 1971


As for all those other things mentioned in the dictation, the deficits, the reductions in capital spending, budget gaps, and increases in taxes and charges, I think it was the French who first uttered the famous phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same" (which sounds much better in its French "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose", said nasally through a stuffed nose on a cold Sunday morning).


Please note: failing this test will not lead to instant deportation; instead, you may be eligible for various government grants set up to fight illiteracy or just plain stupidity


Click on the above image, press play to listen to one of the many recorded passages and type down the words exactly as you hear them. Unlike me when sitting this test more than forty-five years ago, you have the advantage of being able to pause and replay it.

Go on, do the test as if your whole future depended on it. Mine did!