Australia Day 2013 sees record number of new citizens

by Ray Clancy on January 28, 2013

in Australia Immigration

Australia Day 2013 sees record number of new citizens

A record number of people from 145 different countries became Australian citizens at the weekend as part of the nation’s Australia Day celebrations. Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, said that Australia Day is always the most popular day of the year for citizenship ceremonies and 430 special ceremonies were staged across the country.

‘Australia Day is a special day for all Australians to come together to celebrate what is great about our nation, our rich history and our promising future,’ he said at a ceremony in Sydney. ‘It is also a fitting opportunity for all of us, whether Australians by birth or by choice, to recognise our common bond and unique diversity while celebrating the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship,’ her told the audience.

‘I encourage those becoming new citizens to help in building up our nation and we look forward to the contribution you will make to our national story,’ he added. At the national flag raising and citizenship ceremony in Canberra, Prime Minister Julia Gillard conferred citizenship on 22 people from nine countries, including world renowned British actor Miriam Margolyes, acclaimed for her performances in film, television and theatre.

New South Wales welcomed almost 3,800 new citizens from 113 countries at 115 special citizenship ceremonies while a quintessentially Australian ceremony for 15 people was hosted by Cricket NSW at Sydney Olympic Park before the international Twenty20 match between Australia and Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile at Hyde Park, Sydney’s Lord Mayor welcomed seven family groups from seven different countries to the Australian family. Victoria also welcomed some 3,800 new citizens from 105 countries in about 80 citizenship ceremonies across the state. Among the highlights was a Melbourne Park ceremony hosted by Tennis Australia ahead of the Australian Open women’s final, where the Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs Kate Lundy welcomed the new citizens.

Queensland welcomed the most new citizens of any state, with almost 5,000 people from more than 120 countries in 82 special citizenship ceremonies. Brisbane City Council hosted the largest single ceremony in the country at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Southbank, with almost 1,200 people making the citizenship pledge.

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In South Australia, there were almost 1,300 new citizens from 77 countries in 38 special citizenship ceremonies while Tasmania welcomed more than 320 new citizens from 46 countries at some 20 special Australia Day citizenship ceremonies. Western Australia welcomed more than 2,500 new citizens from 92 countries at around 80 special citizenship ceremonies in suburbs and towns across the state, from Bridgetown to Broome and Kalgoorlie to Kwinana.

Western Australia’s biggest ceremony, and the second largest in the country, took place in Perth’s northern suburb of Wanneroo, where almost 700 new citizens made the pledge. The Northern Territory welcomed more than 260 new citizens from 41 countries at ceremonies hosted by the councils of Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs.

Bowen said the newest Australians joined the more than four and a half million others who had chosen to become Australian citizens since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949. ‘On behalf of the Australian Government and the people of Australia, I congratulate all new citizens as they mark the end of their migrant journey and the start of their new lives as Australians,’ he said.

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