Northern Territory joins the nation in welcoming new citizens
DARWIN has welcomed dozens of new Australian subjects as part of Citizenship Day ceremonies throughout the nation as the federal government battles local councils over their rights to hold ceremonies.
Close to 5000 people from 131 countries became citizens in the past week to mark Citizenship Day, with the majority of new citizens from India, the UK and South Africa.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove attended a ceremony at Government House in Canberra yesterday, while major ceremonies were also held in Darwin, Melbourne and Sydney.
Last week a third Melbourne council voted to drop all references to January 26 as Australia Day out of respect for Aboriginal people.
Moreland City Council will continue to hold its official citizenship ceremony on January 26, and says the government should not strip it of the right to hold citizenship ceremonies.
Yarra and Darebin councils lost their right to hold citizenship ceremonies after the Melbourne councils voted to dump Australia Day and coinciding ceremonies on January 26.
Assistant immigration minister Alex Hawke said the councils breached the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code, which says events “must not be used as forums for political, partisan or religious expression”.
The government is considering action against Moreland council.