Australia Day 2016

Mayor's Diary 26 January 2016

This citizenship ceremony is being conducted today, the 26th day of January 2016, as is prescribed by the Australian Citizenship Act and under the authority of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

In my capacity as the Mayor of the City of South Perth I have been delegated as a person before whom the Australian Citizenship Pledge of Commitment as a Citizen of the Commonwealth of Australian shall be made.

Making the Australian Citizenship Pledge is the final step in your becoming an Australian citizen. Today we will be welcoming 65 of Australia’s newest citizens. Australia Day is an inclusive celebration as we embrace the opportunities available to us as part of our contemporary, multicultural diverse and democratic nation.

On this Australia Day, I acknowledge the contribution each of you, all unique individuals make to the fabric of our growing and diverse community and the stories you all bring with you.  I use the words “unique individuals” because each of us is unique.  We each have the desire to be noticed, appreciated, valued, and accepted – perhaps even remembered.

There is a rich tapestry of history that exists on the land we are gathered upon today. Many stories have been told and shared in remembering paying respect to the City’s history.  Stories from the Beelo Noongar Aboriginal people, Chinese market gardeners, as well as dairy farmers and flour millers.  Through stories passed on each generation, we have learnt individuals and groups used this beautiful area for activities we continue to enjoy today, such as swimming and picnicking.  Our foreshore is a very special place indeed. 

Rosemary Sayer former journalist and biographer, now lecturer at Curtin University, wrote the book titled ‘More to the Story’.  In her book Sayer explores multiculturalism in our society, using personal stories as a way to embrace complexity and difference.  People connect with other people and it is through these stories that we preserve the identity of those who have journeyed from other countries to make Australia now their home. As Sayer says, “We are all human and we all have a story. By sharing those stories, by listening and talking, we can develop a new conversation in Australia that is more inclusive and welcoming to those who have a long history and connection to our country and to those who have come here more recently.”  

The recent catastrophic fires that devastated our rural communities both in Western Australia and on the east coast, bring with them stories – ones that stir up emotions because we care about the people whose lives have been impacted in ways that we cannot even try to imagine.

The willingness to listen to other people’s stories, putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes, trying to see the world from the other person’s point of view, is something each and every one of us can do to contribute to becoming a more a compassionate community. 
Reflecting on our history, on the lessons we have learned, on the strengths that we enjoy as a nation, on the values we all share and on the community spirit we foster will continue to guide us through difficult times that we face globally, nationally and locally.

To this end much of this depends on the hard work and care of each of us sharing and communicating as citizens, particularly in challenging times, when we see a greater need for community interaction, inclusion and involvement.  

The City’s Australia Day event is supported by members of our community – individuals and organisations who make this wonderful event possible, each with a story of their own. It is a day to share personal stories and celebrate coming together. 

We all need to belong to a family, or a community to share a past and to hold common hopes and goals for the future.  By becoming an Australian Citizen you are showing that you want to be part of Australia’s future.  Our future success depends on the way we all work together as Australians.

Today on Australia Day 2016, you represent a great tradition of 67 years in accepting citizenship of Australia.  Today we all unite as Australians, to celebrate this land that we call “home.” Today you make a remarkable promise.  May you cherish it.
Shortly, today’s new citizens will stand before us, and pledge their commitment to our country, our people, our democratic beliefs, our laws, our rights and our liberties.

To todays’ new citizens – we welcome you; we offer you a share in Australia’s bright future; and we thank you for choosing to call Australia home. As author Vera Nazarian said, “The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind.”

May Australia Day be a special day for each and everyone of you here today, a day to remember for years to come. 

Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.