Australia launches social media campaign for citizenship day

by Ray Clancy on September 10, 2013

in Australia

Citizenship Day in Australia is widely recognised as an important celebration of what it means to be Australian and this year more people than ever are being encouraged to be involved.

On a typical working day the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) grants Australian citizenship to more than 400 people and on September 17 every year Citizenship Day is celebrated.

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Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in citizenship ceremonies in hundreds of locations across the country

Those who become Australian citizens come from a wide range of backgrounds including expats, refugees and those who have married Australians.

This year the DIAC is encouraging people to post a video on Instagram explaining how they affirm their loyalty to Australia as part of a citizenship social media campaign.

A department spokesman said entrants are being urged to come up with a creative way of affirming their Australian citizenship, whether it’s to continue to donate blood, to coach their local sports team, or commit to cook the ‘snags on the barbie’ at each family gathering.

‘The citizenship affirmation is a way for Australians to publicly affirm their commitment and loyalty to this wonderful country,’ the spokesman said.

‘What we’re asking people to do this Australian Citizenship Day is to create their own affirmation, starting with the words “As an Australian citizen, I affirm …” and then explain a way they demonstrate what it means to be an Australian,’ the spokesman explained.

Videos can be posted until September 17 and the best entries will be shared across the department’s Facebook, Twitter and Storify accounts.

Hundreds of people will become Australian citizens at special ceremonies planned across the country to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in citizenship ceremonies in hundreds of locations across the country. Those who are already citizens often take part in affirmation ceremonies and these are held in workplaces, schools and community locations.

Tim Soutphommasane, Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, said he became a citizen when he was in primary school. ‘I wasn’t born in Australia, and my parents weren’t born in Australia either. So we had to become citizens through a special ceremony in our town hall. The local mayor conducted the ceremony and by the end of it we were given certificates and were officially Australian. I still remember my parents telling me how excited they were, how I could now tell everyone that I was Australian,’ he explained.

He pointed out that there is no one single way that you can be an Aussie: ‘What is important, however, is that we accept certain things as common to all of us. As Australians, we are all members of a proud democracy. And we like to give people a fair go. For me, this is what citizenship represents. It says to all of us that we all belong to a country that is defined by our democratic tradition, and by our belief in treating everyone with fairness,’ he added.

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