More than 85 people from 65 different nations will today become new Australian citizens at a special ceremony being held in Parramatta, New South Wales.
The event marks 65 years since the Australian Parliament passed the Citizenship Act 1948. It will also be the first citizenship ceremony to involve new Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison.
Since the first Australian citizenship ceremony was staged, more than 4.5 million people have chosen to become Australian citizens, with more than one million new citizens in the past decade. In 2012-13, more than 120 000 people were conferred Australian citizenship. More than 95 per cent of the nation’s population are Australian citizens. Prior to the creation of the Citizenship Act 1948, migrants could not become Australian citizens.
Mr Morrison said Australian citizenship ceremonies are an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the values we share and our common future.
“At this special event, we will celebrate our democratic values, equality and respect for each other and what unites us as Australians,” Mr Morrison said. “We encourage anyone who is eligible to formally become a part of our community as Australian citizens.
“Australian citizenship means accepting Australia as our home, embracing the Australian way of life and providing a settled environment for our children where they feel part of the country in which they will probably live for the rest of their lives,” he added.
In order to become an Australian citizen, an immigrant must have lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying, including one-year as a permanent resident. An applicant for citizenship will also need to sit, and pass, a citizenship test which assesses all would-be citizens on whether they have adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of being a citizen.