What Is This 'Mate' of Which You Speak?

Australian government gives immigrants a formal definition
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2007 6:29 PM CDT
What Is This 'Mate' of Which You Speak?
The Sydney Opera House, one of the cultural wonders that may come up in 20 random questions about Australian pride for incoming citizens.   (Index Open)

For its new citizenship test, the Australian government has provided a formal definition of the word "mate." Yes, as in "G'day, mate." A 40-page guide for aspiring Aussies, the brainchild of the immigration minister, defines mateship as the condition “where people help and receive help from others voluntarily, especially in times of adversity."

A mate may be a family member but "can be also a complete stranger," the pamphlet advises. PM John Howard has been trying to formalize matehood since 1999, when he led a failed attempt to insert a definition into the constitution. The new citizenship study booklet also includes background on the Australian obsession with cricket and other helpful information. (Read more mate stories.)

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