Australian Citizenship Ceremony 2017
Mr Peter Russo MP, representing the Premier; Mr Trevor Evans MP, representing the Immigration Minister; Councillor Angela Owen, representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane; other distinguished guests. Kaye and I welcome you most warmly to just the second citizenship ceremony ever to be held in this beautiful house. We are delighted to share this memorable day with you.
You may be surprised to learn that I became an Australian citizen at the ripe old age of four months, even though I was born in Brisbane to Australian parents.
That is because, until Australia Day 1949, there was no such thing as Australian citizenship. Australians were considered British. It took the Australian Parliament’s Nationality and Citizenship Act, which took effect on that day, to introduce the concept of Australian citizenship to this country.
I did not have to do anything to become an Australian citizen. That happened automatically and without fuss, to my great good fortune.
You, however, have made a deliberate, considered, and important decision about becoming Australians – a decision about your futures and, in many cases, the future of your families.
That is why we are making a fuss – up to and including the involvement of the splendid Royal Australian Navy Band Queensland, and the presence of Gavel, on his first official day as a vice-regal working dog – because this ceremony is important for everyone involved.
It is clearly of great importance to you, but just as important to this country.
As residents, many of you have already made significant contributions to your communities.
We look forward with optimism to the further contribution you will make as fully-fledged Australian citizens.
We welcome and value your energy, skills, and commitment to your new country and its future.
You bring also a wide range of cultural backgrounds – from Brazil, Fiji, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
This will further enrich what is already one of the most multicultural countries on earth.
Entirely without bias, Kaye and I thank and congratulate you on taking up your citizenship in Australia’s most wonderful State – Queensland.
In a few minutes, it will be my privilege and pleasure to read the preamble and administer the Australian Citizenship Pledge.
For now, I take this opportunity to wish you all every success as residents of this marvellous State, and citizens of this marvellous country. Thank you all.