The Nation's Capital Welcomes New Citizens On Australia Day

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25th January 2010, 05:03pm - Views: 595
The nation's capital welcomes new citizens on Australia Day

People from 23 countries will become Australian citizens at Canberra's traditional Australia Day ceremony at Regatta Point tomorrow (26 January).

The ACT's 77 newest citizens are among nearly 16 700 people from 144 countries becoming citizens at 358 ceremonies happening nationwide on and around Australia Day.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will preside over the Canberra ceremony. He will be joined by the chair of the National Australia Day Council, Adam Gilchrist, and international basketball star and Australia Day ambassador, Lauren Jackson.

Among the conferees is New Zealand-born surgeon Dr Andrew Greensmith, who works in plastic and maxillofacial surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

Also becoming a citizen is French national Delphine Coutin. Delphine fell in love with Australia when she first came to Canberra as an exchange student in 1995. She is now the director of a child care centre in Curtin and is thrilled to become a citizen on such a special occasion.

"Australia Day is the perfect day for me to become an Australian. I have always loved Canberra for its wonderful people, clean air, open spaces and relaxing atmosphere," Ms Coutin said.

Conferees at Regatta Point come to Australia from countries including Morocco, South Africa, Myanmar, the United Kingdom, China, India, New Zealand and Sweden.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans said Australia has been enriched by the cultures and traditions of people from more than 200 countries who have chosen to become Australian citizens.

"Becoming an Australian citizen shows commitment and loyalty to this country and a desire to share in our common future," Senator Evans said.

"Australian citizenship is not just about people taking on a new national identity but also about engendering a sense of pride and belonging in Australia.

"Australia Day is an opportunity for all Australians to understand the role citizenship plays in building a strong and unified nation."

Note to media: Broadcast-quality audio grabs from Senator Evans and further information on Australian citizenship are available online at:

For interviews with new citizens: Contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship National Communications branch on (02) 6264 2244.

Media Contacts: Simon Dowding (02) 6277 7860 or 0411 138 541 (Minister's office)

DIAC National Communications Branch on (02) 6264 2244

SOURCE: Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

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