Gero Mayor says board­ies ban un-Aus­tralian

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Francesca Mann

City of Greater Ger­ald­ton mayor Shane Van Styn is urg­ing the Prime Min­is­ter to re­think a ban on board shorts, thongs and sin­glets at Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­monies.

On Sun­day the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment an­nounced changes to the Aus­tralian Ci­ti­zen­ship Cer­e­monies Code, forc­ing coun­cils to hold cer­e­monies on Aus­tralia Day.

The re­vi­sion, to be in­tro­duced next year, will also im­ple­ment a strict dress code that stops new cit­i­zens from wear­ing board shorts, thongs and sin­glets at the cer­e­monies.

Mr Van Styn said the city would con­tinue to host ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­monies on Jan­uary 26 “with great pride” but would not pre­vent peo­ple from be­com­ing a cit­i­zen based on what they were wear­ing.

“The idea they’d pre­vent lo­cal gov­ern­ments from nat­u­ral­is­ing Aus­tralians be­cause some bloke wanted to wear board­ies and thongs on Aus­tralia Day blows my mind,” he said. “We had a fella from the

UK in­ten­tion­ally dress in Aus­tralian flag (cloth­ing) and draped him­self in an

Aussie flag as a light­hearted but pa­tri­otic dis­play of his love for his coun­try.

“Of all the things you don’t want peo­ple to dress in, why pick on board­ies? I know we don’t have a na­tional dress but board­ies are pretty close.” Mr Van Styn yes­ter­day set up a pe­ti­tion on call­ing for the ban to be re­versed. Hav­ing worked as a bouncer, Mr Van Styn said there was a thin line be­tween board shorts and ca­sual shorts, and women were of­ten al­lowed to wear thongs and sin­glets when men were not.

The mayor also noted some new cit­i­zens may wear thongs as part of their re­li­gious or tra­di­tional cloth­ing. “Am I go­ing to stop some­one dress­ing in a burqa or a sari? No,” he said. “Do we re­ally need a fi­nal line of bor­der pro­tec­tion com­pris­ing bounc­ers on­stage check­ing the cloth­ing of our pro­posed new Aussies? On Aus­tralia Day we’re cel­e­brat­ing all the great things about be­ing an Aus­tralian, and it’s not about the clothes you wear.” Un­der changes to the ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­monies code, coun­cils will have to hold a sec­ond ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­mony on Septem­ber 17 — Aus­tralian Ci­ti­zen­ship Day. Scott Mor­ri­son told the Sun­day Tele­graph news­pa­per the Gov­ern­ment would “pro­tect our na­tional day and en­sure it is re­spected”.

Shane Van Styn in his best Aus­tralia Day garb.

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