26 January 2011

Nation welcomes new citizens on Australia Day

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Around 13,000 people were welcomed as new Australian citizens earlier today.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, said Australia's newest citizens would join more than four million other people who had chosen to become Australian citizens since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949.

“Australia Day on 26 January is a special day for all Australians, especially for those who are becoming Australian citizens on our national day,” Mr Bowen said.

“Today they make a formal commitment to this country and will celebrate, together with the rest of the nation, what it means to be an Australian.”
Mr Bowen presided over a special ceremony at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, where an international pilot, a minister of religion, and a senior executive for iconic Australian swimwear company Speedo were among 42 people taking the citizenship pledge.

In the ACT, Prime Minister Julia Gillard will preside over her first citizenship ceremony as Prime Minister, with about 50 people from 21 countries becoming citizens in the nation's capital.

Mr Bowen said Australia's new citizens enriched the nation's culture and traditions.

“Citizenship ceremonies are a special time for those involved and I offer my sincere congratulations to all those becoming citizens today,” Mr Bowen said.


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