Australian Citizenship Celebrations
Australia day is the national day of Australia and is celebrated on the 26th of January each year. It is a day when all citizens of Australia think about their country and what it means to be an Australian. It is all about recommitting the pledge to be good citizens and contribute positively and collectively to the country’s progress.
This day is marked with citizenship ceremonies of which several are conducted by the Governor-General, Prime Minister, government officials or other renowned citizens of Australia. Affirmation ceremonies also take place on this day which is a ceremony where new citizens affirm their commitment to Australia.
Australian Citizenship Affirmation Ceremony
This is usually a short but solemn ceremony. The persons in the ceremony take the opportunity to affirm their commitment and loyalty in public to Australia and the people of Australia with the recitation of a declaration based on the Australian Citizenship Pledge. Although there is no legal status attached to this event, anyone can take part, even those who have yet to become Australian citizens. These affirmation ceremonies are usually held by schools, community organizations, and local councils.
Purpose of Australian Citizenship Celebrations
- Such ceremonies are considered to have a bolstering effect on Australian national pride.
- These ceremonies give new citizens a chance to express their appreciation of their adopted country publicly as well as highlighting the contributions which they are making towards the development of the nation.
- The immediate benefits enjoyed by new Australian Citizens are showcased. For example, a Punjabi immigrant stated that he had the honor of establishing a national broadband network, thereby showing that he not only got an opportunity but was able to convert it into a meaningful contribution.
- An elderly female immigrant from Iraq expressed her pleasure in the simple act of being able to wear her beloved crucifix which she was banned from wearing in her home country. She was able to publicly appreciate the secular nature of the country.
- For refugees, the Australian Citizenship Celebrations take on a whole new meaning – the exciting possibilities of a new life where basic human rights can be enjoyed. Recently, Sudanese Ms Ajak Bol Chimiir who had spent almost two decades in a refugee came to Australia and was featured in the recent Australian Citizenship celebrations. Ms Chimiir thanks her lucky stars for becoming an Australian citizen and is grateful for basic human rights conferred upon her and her children like having a proper bed to sleep in at night and the chance for her children to receive an education.
The Australian Citizen Celebrations give new citizens the ultimate seal of approval and motivate them to be good citizens in the years to come.
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