North­ern Ter­ri­tory joins the na­tion in wel­com­ing new cit­i­zens

NT News - - NEWS -

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.

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