Australia’s diversity was on display today in celebration of Australian Citizenship Day with more than 3,500 people from 108 countries expected to become Australian citizens at more than 80 ceremonies across the nation.
The Governor of Victoria Her Excellency the Hon Linda Dessau AM will today welcome 18 new citizens from nine different countries at a citizenship ceremony at Government House to mark Australian Citizenship Day.
Celebrated annually on September 17, Australian Citizenship Day helps raise community awareness of the meaning and value of Australian citizenship.
This year will see 1,322 people from nearly 80 countries become Australian citizens in 21 ceremonies across Victoria.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton congratulated all the new citizens as they pledged their loyalty and commitment to Australia.
Mr Dutton said Australian Citizenship Day was not only a day for new citizens to celebrate, but also a day for Australians to affirm their commitment to Australia.
"The day gives the Australian community an opportunity to reflect on the importance and meaning of being an Australian citizen.
"Now, perhaps more than ever, it is important to pause and reflect on the values responsibilities and privileges we share through the unifying bond of Australian citizenship."
Among those becoming Australians today is Orla Wrede, her husband and daughter.
Orla arrived in Australia from Ireland in 1998 and brought with her a range of valuable skills which she puts to good use working in cancer treatment and research at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
Her husband, David, also works at the same hospital, specialising in cancer prevention.
"We wanted our daughter to grow up in a country with an outward looking, tolerant and positive culture," Mrs Wrede said.
"Australia is a potpourri of different cultures and backgrounds. Migrating has been a very positive thing for us and becoming a citizen seems to be the natural next step," she said.
This month some 6,050 people from 119 countries are expected to have citizenship conferred in more than 142 ceremonies.
More than 4.5 million people have become citizens since Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949.