Government Ministers defend Australia Day as 13,000 become new citizens

by Ray Clancy on January 26, 2018

in Australia Immigration

Almost 13,000 people from 129 countries marked the national day in Australia by becoming new citizens in 336 ceremonies across the nation despite controversy over the date.

There have been growing calls for the date of Australia Day to be changed from 26 January because it represents the start of ‘colonisation’ by the British and is insensitive to indigenous people.

(Ann Muse/

But Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pointed out that more people become citizens on Australia Day than any other day of the year.

‘Citizenship ceremonies provide a way for all citizens, new or old, to come together and bond over our shared characteristics, beliefs and values. Australia Day is a time for us to unite and welcome our newest citizens to this great country,’ he added.

Dutton presided over a morning ceremony at his local Rotary Club in Samford Valley welcoming 28 new citizens, followed by another ceremony in Moreton Bay for 144 new citizens.

Alan Tudge, the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, welcomed thousands becoming new citizens. ‘On Australia Day, we celebrate the big three pillars of our society; our Indigenous heritage, the British foundation and multicultural character,’ he said.

‘I encourage all Australians to support their local Australia Day citizenship ceremonies and demonstrate why we are proud to call Australia home,’ he added.

Other major events on Australia Day included a ceremony on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra presided by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a ceremony at the Melbourne Victory Football Club at AAMI Park and a ceremony on HMAS Canberra in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Meanwhile, a maths teacher Eddie Woo, who started an online video channel for students, has been named Australia’s Local Hero at the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards.

‘Mr Woo’s infectious enthusiasm for the subject and a passion for helping others has given thousands of people an opportunity to further their education. He has enriched many lives both in Australia and around the world and is a very deserving recipient of Australia’s Local Hero Award,’ said Dutton.

Woo is also a volunteer facilitator with the University of Sydney’s Widening Participation and Outreach program and has motivated more than 1,400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds to further their education.

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