Certificate Of Exemption To The Dictation Test – CEDT

Certificate of Exemption to the Dictation Test – CEDT

There is an apparent lack of understanding about the roll that the Certificate of Exemption to the Dictation Test (CEDT) played during the period that the “Immigration Restriction Act 1901” known as the “White Australia Policy” was operating.

The Dictation Test was a written test in any European language chosen at random by the Migration Officers. It was primarily designed to keep non-white people from entering Australia. However, any Indian or other non-white person who was resident in Australia before 1900, could, if they chose to leave Australia, leave after applying for the CEDT, which would ensure that they could return to Australia at a time of their choosing and not undergo a Dictation Test.

Many people of all nationalities left Australia and re-entered Australia and experienced little difficulty re-entering Australia.

An example is Braham Singh who was a hawker in the Warrnambool District and after being a resident in Australia for 29 years in 1928 applied for, and obtained a CEDT and then travelled to India initially for 3 years but extended this period to 10 years and returned to Australia in 1938, without any problems.

Braham Singh CEDT 1928 Courtesy of NAA

Braham Singh CEDT 1928 Courtesy of NAA


lenkenna-crystaljordanAre Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vols 1-5

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 2014


Posted Website: 10.05.2016