Australia yesterday celebrated its annual Citizenship Day with more than 3,500 people from 108 countries becoming Australian citizens at more than 80 ceremonies across the nation.
Celebrated annually on September 17, Australian Citizenship Day helps raise community awareness of the meaning and value of Australian citizenship.
Four hundred and fifty people from 54 different countries were involved in citizenship ceremonies in New South Wales alone. NSW Governor the Hon David Hurley presided at an event at Customs House in Circular Quay where 72 people from 27 countries took the citizenship pledge. They included scientists, an LPGA golfer and an opera singer.
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,” he explained. “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.”
A former police officer from Bosnia, Danijela Satara, said she was excited about the prospect of starting her new life and career in Australia.
“I hope to return to study and eventually join the police force here in Australia,” she said.
Distinguished Opera Australia singer, Elvira Fatykhova, formerly from Russia, was also among the conferees and agreed to perform the Australian national anthem at the event.
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.