Today marks Australian Citizenship Day, a time to recognise the value and significance of Australian citizenship and celebrate the contribution of all Australians to our great nation.
At more than 60 citizenship ceremonies across the country, 1700 people from 105 countries will today become new Australians.
This includes 30 people from 14 different countries who this morning became citizens at a special ceremony at Canberra’s Old Parliament House, presided over by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
The ceremony carries additional significance—it marks the start of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of Australian citizenship.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said it was a privilege to join the Governor-General in welcoming Australia’s newest citizens.
“Australia has come a long way since 1949 when the first Australian citizenship ceremony was held, seeing seven men from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia pledge their allegiance to Australia, Mr Coleman said. “Despite their varied backgrounds, they demonstrated the unifying power of Australian values.
“Since then, we have welcomed more than five million new citizens to our shores. These are individuals and families who have embraced Australia as their home, have contributed to our economy, our communities and the rich tapestry of our multicultural society, and have helped build a stronger more prosperous Australia.”
After the citizenship ceremony at Old Parliament House, the Governor-General and Australia’s 2018 Local Hero Eddie Woo held a youth forum with children from local schools about the value of citizenship and the importance of our democratic heritage.
“Australians of all ages should be proud of their citizenship,” Mr Coleman said.
“Australian citizenship means having an understanding of our past and a stake in our future as a prosperous and diverse nation.
“As we approach the 70th anniversary of Australian citizenship in 2019, we celebrate our shared democratic values, equality and respect for each other, and reflect on what unites us as Australians.”
For more information about upcoming celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Australian Citizenship visit www.citizenship.gov.au.