National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony, Parkes, ACT
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, 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, and happy Australia Day.
Linda and I are delighted to join you for this National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony. Congratulations to our newest Australian citizens. What a momentous day it is for you and your families. The smiles say it all!
Earlier, before the Prime Minister of Australia, you took a pledge of loyalty to Australia, its people and its democratic beliefs. In that moment, you became an Australian citizen. I’m sure it is a moment you will cherish for the rest of your life. 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.
Our greatest strength is our people. We are diverse and that is a strength. Because despite our differences we are ‘one’. The sum of our contributions is what makes us a great nation. There have been setbacks and challenges in recent times, but the way we have responded should instil a confidence in all of us that we can overcome any obstacle. Any obstacle.
Our 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. We have every reason to be optimistic about our future because at our core we are a good people. Again, congratulations on becoming an Australian citizen. Welcome!
Now that we have all witnessed Australia’s newest citizens make their public pledge of commitment, I would like to offer everyone an opportunity to participate in the Australian citizenship affirmation.
The affirmation was introduced in 1999. The words of the affirmation are based on the pledge our new citizens have just made but the affirmation is voluntary and carries no legal status. By participating in the affirmation, you are expressing your support for the values and principles that underpin Australian citizenship. Those who are not Australian citizens but feel a strong connection to Australia are also welcome to participate — you can join in from the second line of the affirmation.
Today’s newest citizens are welcome to join in too. You are Australian citizens now!