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Australia Day: Oaths and new beginnings

For many, Australia Day is about the beach and BBQ’s and a fun day off work. For others, it’s one of the most significant days in their lives. Australia Day is the special day that many migrants and refugees choose to formally pledge their allegiance to their new country and stand proud as true Australian citizens.

For Mehedi Hasan, from Punchbowl, Sydney, and before that from Bangladesh, it’s been an eight-year long wait.

“I was feeling very excited when I received the letter of acceptance because…I have been waiting for a long time... it was good news for me and this actually made my day,” Hasan told The Point Magazine.

The act of attaining Australian citizenship is more than a simple ceremony. It forms a central part of Australia Day celebrations across the country, and this simple pledge of allegiance reaffirms our country’s identity as the one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world.

The first Australian citizenship ceremony took place at Albert Hall in Canberra on 3 February 1949. Seven men, one representing each state of Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, became Australian citizens. The men were from Greece, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Spain, Czechoslovakia, France and Norway.

Now joining them, Hasan said he looks forward to a fresh start at life as an Australian.

“Just after becoming an Australian by receiving citizenship certificate I would love to take a fresh breath. I really mean it… because after passing immeasurable struggles, now it’s time to make something constructive for the community and the people in Australia.”

During the citizenship ceremony, new Australians take a pledge of commitment, a moving part of the citizenship ceremony.

 

“Just after becoming an Australian by receiving citizenship certificate I would love to take a fresh breath. I really mean it… because after passing immeasurable struggles, now it’s time to make something constructive for the community and the people in Australia.”

– Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan is about to become a new Australian citizen.

The pledge reads: “From this time forward, under God, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.”

“The last formal step to becoming an Australian citizen is to make the Australian Citizenship Pledge at an Australian citizenship ceremony.  Australia Day each year sees the largest number of new citizens pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people at ceremonies all around the nation,” a spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said.

Those who were lucky enough to be born as Australian citizens are encouraged to follow the example of their new compatriots by reaffirming the same pledge.

“Australia Day is also an opportunity for existing Australians to affirm their loyalty and commitment to Australia by making the Australian citizenship affirmation. The words of the affirmation are based on the pledge made by new citizens at their citizenship ceremony. It allows existing citizens to express their national pride and spirit and celebrate the values that we share as Australians,” the departmental spokesperson said.

Since the first citizenship ceremony, more than 4.5 million people have chosen to become Australian citizens.

Hasan told The Point Magazine that being an Australian is creating new opportunities for him.

“It provides me a better life style that I actually want…its multiculturalism, secularism, political vision… it’s why…in every aspect of my life I love Australia… My intention was that I would love to give more than I have received from this country and its community.”

For more information on what’s happening in your local area on Australia Day head to www.australiaday.org.au

The Point

Australia Day is the special day that many migrants and refugees choose to formally pledge their allegiance to their new country and stand proud as true Australian citizens.

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