One of the highlights in local government and as Mayor is presiding over Citizenship Ceremonies and welcoming new citizens to both Australia and the City of Maroondah. This evening we welcomed 90 new Australian citizens into the City of Maroondah.
Tonight’s citizenship ceremony is the last ceremony for 2010 and my last as Mayor. The speech delivered for citizenship ceremonies is included in this entry:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
Maroondah City Council, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledges that we are meeting on land for which the Wurundjeri people have been custodians for many centuries, and on land which the Indigenous Australians have performed age old ceremonies.
I am delighted to welcome you all on behalf of the Maroondah City Council; particularly we welcome the 90 adults and children who will tonight receive Australian Citizenship.
I am pleased that so many of you here this evening have come along to support a member of your family or a friend who is participating in this ceremony
Taking up Australian Citizenship is a serious step. It is a symbol of your commitment to the country which you have chosen to make your home.
Just as importantly, the conferment of Citizenship is a symbol of Australia’s commitment to you, as it is the step which makes you full and equal members of the Australian community.
The Parliament recognises that Australian citizenship represents full and formal membership of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Australian citizenship is a common bond, involving reciprocal rights and obligations, uniting all Australians while respecting their diversity.
The Parliament recognises that persons conferred Australia citizenship enjoy these rights, and undertake to accept these obligations:-
- by pledging loyalty to Australia and its people; and
- by sharing their democratic beliefs; and
- by respecting their rights and liberties; and
- by upholding and obeying the laws of Australia.
The Australian citizenship pledge calls upon new citizens to make a commitment of loyalty to Australia and its people.
As an Australian citizen, you are entitled under Australian law to the same rights that are enjoyed by people born in Australia:
- You have the right to apply for appointment to any public office, or to stand for election as a Member of Parliament.
- When Local Government elections are held in the City of Maroondah in the future, you will also have the right to stand for those elections.
- As a voter, you have the right to help elect Australia’s governments
- You gain the right to apply for an Australian passport, and to leave and re-enter Australia without applying for a resident return visa
- and you have the right to protection by Australian diplomatic representatives while overseas.
Being an Australian citizen also brings responsibilities:
- You must enrol on the electoral register and vote at elections for Members of the Australian and State Parliaments, Local Government elections and at Referenda
- You must serve on a jury if called on to do so
- and you must defend Australia should the need arise
By becoming an Australian, you are showing that you want to have a say in Australia’s future.
However, no-one who becomes an Australian citizen is expected to renounce their cultural identity.
The customs and traditions you have grown up with, are a part of your heritage. It is important that you maintain these links with your past, for this cultural mix is what makes Australia a unique and special country.
Today’s ceremony marks the final stage in your decision to become an Australian citizen, the greatest compliment you can make to the people of Australia.
Australian citizenship is the common bond which unites us all. Australia respects the diverse cultural inheritance of its citizens, and we are honoured that you have chosen to become an Australian citizen today.
With citizenship, comes responsibilities as well as rights. The greatest responsibility is to participate fully in our community, to strengthen the freedom and openness which makes Australia unique.
On behalf of the Australian Government I offer my warmest congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead.
We in Maroondah are delighted that you have chosen to make your home in our City. And I am sure that everyone here today will agree with me when I say that is truly a great place to live.
On behalf of the Councillors of the City of Maroondah, and all its people, I wish you good health, happiness and prosperity, and may you achieve your personal dreams for your future here in Australia.