Citizenship Ceremony, Sydney Town Hall, NSW
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
Good afternoon, everyone. It’s good to see you all.
Linda and I are delighted to be back in Sydney for this Citizenship Ceremony. While Governor of New South Wales, we had the pleasure of presiding over and attending many citizenship ceremonies. They are such joyous occasions.
Congratulations to our soon-to-be newest Australian citizens. What a momentous day it is for you and your families.
Shortly, before the Lord Mayor of Sydney, 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. As the Lord Mayor alluded to in her speech, I’m sure it is 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.
On Australia Day, Linda and I had the pleasure of attending an Australia Day event and Citizenship Ceremony in Wangaratta. I suspect some of you might be thinking ‘where’s Wangaratta?’, or ‘Wang’ as the locals like to call it.
Wangaratta is a beautiful, welcoming country town of nearly 30,000 people in north-east Victoria. It’s about six-and-quarter hours’ drive down the Hume Highway and is a great place to visit.
During the ceremony 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 – 36 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.