Thursday, 26 January 2023
Campbelltown City Council Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day Awards
Rod and I are delighted to be with you in Campbelltown on Australia Day to welcome the new Citizens.
Thank you all for the warm welcome, which was also evident when Rod and I were at the Foxfield Oval just up the road last week for the finish of the Men’s Stage three Santos Tour Down Under cycling race.
Already we have seen that Campbelltown is a vibrant community, due in no small measure to the energy and commitment of the citizens who live and work here.
Active citizenship and its importance are exemplified by the presence of, and messages from, our civic leaders, but most importantly by the people here who have taken the considered decision and powerful step to become Australian citizens. Congratulations on doing so.
As a sixth generation South Australian growing up in Adelaide, I well remember Campbelltown being once widely known as Little Italy.
Today in this ceremony, we welcome people from 26 countries. Those from Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal; the Middle East including Iran, Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates; Africa including Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe; the Americas including Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, the United States; those from Europe including the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, and the Ukraine.
It’s a long list, and a varied list, but one that demonstrates a fundamental strength of our nation – our diversity.
As a nation we are seated within an ancient landscape and ancient culture; a nation that has evolved with many faces, and many voices, of which you are now part.
In my former role as a diplomat, I was privileged to visit many countries and experienced the dynamic and richness of other cultures.
That deep interaction also enabled me to realise how fortunate I am to be a citizen of Australia.
Here we enjoy many privileges: a thriving democracy, freedom of speech, high quality health and education services, an opportunity to make the most of our talents and lead safe, fulfilling lives.
Yet these privileges also come with responsibilities to exercise our right to vote, to be law-abiding members of the community, and where possible to give back to this wonderful country, whether that is simply being a thoughtful neighbour, contributing to local organisations, or even running for public office.
I have no doubt that all our candidates for citizenship will contribute greatly to their communities and I wish you all well in your new life as Australian citizens and I share your excitement for the future.