Citizenship ceremonies to be moved away from January 26

Home Politics Citizenship ceremonies to be moved away from January 26
Citizenship ceremonies to be moved away from January 26

The Albanese government will allow citizenship ceremonies to be held on a day other than Australia Day.

As of December 16, citizenship ceremonies can now be held either three days post or prior to January 26.

Before this change, citizenship ceremonies fell on January 26, which is considered a day of mourning to many Indigenous people.

On Friday morning, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles announced the change, which follows councils in Melbourne who had signalled plans to move away from the Australia Day ceremonies.

Mr Giles told SBS the decision came after councils revealed there were higher costs associated with holding the ceremonies on public holidays.

“Australian citizenship is an important common bond for all Australians, whether by birth or by choice, and lies at the heart of unified, cohesive and inclusive Australia,” he said.

“The government’s priority is to ensure that where people have made the choice to become Australian citizens, they are afforded that opportunity in their own communities with friends and family in a timely way.”

Former Liberal prime minister Scott Morrison introduced rules in 2019 that forced local governments to hold the citizenship ceremonies on January 26, Australia Day, or not at all.

One Melbourne council has already indicated that it won’t hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Merri-bek City Council Mayor Angelica Panopoulos said a motion to discontinue the Australia Day citizenship ceremonies was carried at a council meeting on December 7.

“Merri-bek City Council has supported changing the date of Australia Day since 2017 so that our national day of celebration can be held on a day that is inclusive to everyone,” she said.

In January this year, thousands across the country rallied to change the date of Australia Day, as Indigenous people mourn what they call “Invasion Day.”

Each year, the recognition of “Invasion Day” grows more and more, with councils, businesses and influencers urging the government to change the date of Australia Day to allow for celebration without causing pain to First Nations people.

On Friday, the council issued a statement welcoming the federal government’s decision to allow the ceremonies to be held within three days of Australia Day.

“We are grateful that the federal government will allow us, and all councils, to listen to our communities and make decisions that are right for us when scheduling citizenship ceremonies in January,” Ms Panopoulos said.

“We look forward to holding many ceremonies in 2023 where we will celebrate Australian citizenship and what it means to be Australian – including our next ceremony, which is proposed for January 24.

“We will always listen to traditional owners and our First Nations community about matters that are important to them. January 26 is a painful day for many in our community and isn’t the right date to celebrate.”

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