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.
Celebrated annually on September 17, Australian Citizenship Day helps raise community awareness of the meaning and value of Australian citizenship.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton congratulated all the new citizens as they pledged their loyalty and commitment to Australia.
The Minister attended and spoke to Canberra’s newest citizens at a special ceremony at Government House where 35 people were conferred by the Governor-General, His Excellency the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
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 said.
“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,” Mr Dutton said.
Sampath Akula, originally from India, who works as a systems administrator in Canberra, was one of those who became a citizen at the Canberra ceremony.
After arriving in 2009 as a student and studying a Masters in IT, he knew he was one step closer to his dream: becoming an Australian.
“This really is a very big opportunity for me and I can say with honesty that this feels like such an incredible achievement.
“Every step of the way has been full of fantastic experiences. I love the friendly people and also the excellent transport and infrastructure.
“I am so proud to be becoming an Australian. The only thing I have left to work out is my cricket allegiance,” Mr Akula 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.
Further information: John Wiseman or Merryn Royle – 02 6277 7860