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Citizenship Ceremony at South Newman Primary School, Newman WA


[Acknowledgement of Country / VIPs]

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

What a wonderful turnout for 18 members of your community who are about to become Australian citizens. I knew the community spirit and support in Newman was strong, but not this strong!

You being here and welcoming our new citizens in this way demonstrates the richness that exists within Australian society.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Australian citizenship, since the concept of an Australian citizen was introduced into our laws.

Today’s ceremony is one of many being held around the country in recognition of Australian Citizenship Day, which is today.

And isn’t it great to have the students from Years 3–6 from South Newman Primary hosting us! I understand that two of you will soon be part of the ceremony. 

The values of South Newman Primary School complement so beautifully the obligations that conferees accept to undertake. They are quintessentially Australian:

  • care and compassion
  • respect
  • responsibility

What wonderful values to instil in our young people.

And the school song has also caught our attention — Linda likes to sing, so who knows where that might lead us!

The 18 conferees come from seven countries — Philippines, Zambia, France, Canada, Zimbabwe, India and Britain.

I note in the biographies that many of you say that you will follow the rules of our country and be moral citizens — that’s a step in the right direction. And to Patrick who says he loves cooking barbecues — you’ll go a long way in this country and make a lot of friends if you keep doing that! Rudia says the best thing about living in Australia is ‘the sense of community and the friendly people’. That was another of the themes to come through strongly in the biographies.

Australia’s success as a multicultural nation is underwritten by our values, our mutual understanding of our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and our respect for each other.

In a few moments you will take a pledge. In doing so, you will pledge your loyalty to Australia, its people and its democratic beliefs. You will become Australian citizens.

It’s a momentous, life-changing step and I’m sure you have thought about it very carefully.

My job is a simple but very enjoyable one. I’m here to say congratulations and welcome! You are about to become part of a great nation.

[formal ceremony followed]