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Citizenship Ceremony, Drummond Memorial Public School, Armidale NSW


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good morning, everyone. It’s good to see you all.

Linda and I are delighted to be back in Armidale for this Citizenship Ceremony. We’ve visited Armidale many times over the years, both as Governor of New South Wales and now as Governor-General. It’s a beautiful part of our country up here on the Northern Tablelands.

Can I thank Principal Julianne Crompton  and all at Drummond Memorial Public School for hosting this Australian Citizenship Ceremony during Harmony Week. There’s a wonderful synergy about today. Australian Citizenship and Harmony Week are all about ‘respect and inclusiveness’, and one of the elements of the Drummond Public School mantra is, indeed, ‘respect’. ‘Respect’ and ‘inclusiveness’ help make a great country.

Congratulations to the (soon-to-be) nine newest Australian citizens. What a momentous day it is for you and your families. Shortly, you will take a pledge of loyalty to Australia, its people and its democratic beliefs. In that moment, you will become an Australian citizen. I’m sure it is a moment you will cherish for the rest of your life and a decision you did not make lightly. On behalf of all Australians, welcome. I wish you and your families much happiness and success in the years ahead.

Linda and I have had the pleasure of presiding over two citizenship ceremonies already this year. One in Wangaratta on Australia Day and the other in Sydney about three weeks ago. During those ceremonies I said to our new citizens that Australia’s greatest strength is our people. That, yes, we are diverse but we are also ‘one’. And that the sum of our contributions is what makes us a great nation.

There are people from every country living in Australia – nine countries are represented today. Almost 30 per cent of us were born overseas and a further 21 per cent have at least one migrant parent. The strength of a culturally diverse community, united by an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia, is one of our greatest achievements and one of our great national assets.

We’ve had some pretty big challenges in recent times, but we have been able to overcome them — because our communities are strong. We have every reason to be optimistic about our future because at our core we are a good people.

Again, congratulations to our newest Australian citizens-in-waiting! There’s much to love about Australia. Linda and I are delighted that you want to call Australia home.