The weather might have been closing in as we left the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, but spring was certainly in the air in this morning’s special Wattle Day Citizenship Ceremony.
One of the really enjoyable privileges of my work in politics is being authorised to preside over citizenship ceremonies. This morning I officiated as 100 people from 35 nations including India (18), China (7), Vietnam (6), and Republic of Korea (6) became Australian citizens.
Officially, Wattle Day is held each year on 1 September but the trees are already blossoming and each new citizen was presented with a sprig of wattle to pin on their lapel by members of the Wattle Day Association.
Among the new citizens I met this morning were the family pictured above: Jaspal Singh, Poojadeep Ghotra and young Gurpyar and Gurbahar.
Citizenship brings responsibilities and duties – to obey laws, to vote, to serve on a jury, and to defend Australia if the need for such an unhappy circumstance occurs. But it also brings civil and social rights – the right to express each individual cultural heritage and beliefs coupled with a responsibility to accept the right of others to express their heritage and beliefs.
Today’s special ceremony also included a didgeridoo performance and uplifting singing by the Arawang Primary School choir.
Welcome to all our new citizens.