The government has produced 200 questions, with 20 questions chosen at random for each person wanting to become a citizen.

Candidates could be asked to give the year of European settlement, name the colours on the flag or write down the first line of the national anthem.

The tests are similar to those in Canada, the United States and Britain, and according to Kevin Andrews, the immigration minister, "it emphasises that those becoming a citizen in Australia have an overriding commitment to Australia, to our laws, to our values and to our community".

Under new immigration laws, immigrants must spend four years in Australia instead of three to become citizens.

Andrews has also said that citizenship applicants should understand English.

Andrews said: "Whether it's to be able to work or whether it's to be able to mix effectively and be part of the broader Australian community, then an understanding of the English language is important.

"We are trying to encourage people to learn English because we think that is the way they will achieve their aspirations."

Australia is a nation of immigrants, with one in four people born overseas.

The citizenship test is expected to be used later this year.