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Launch of Australian Citizenship Day 2002

Launch of Australian Citizenship Day 2002

Australians will have greater opportunities to affirm their loyalty and passion for their country following the launch of an affirmation kit in Brisbane today by the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave.

Mr Hardgrave launched the start of the 2002 Australian Citizenship Day advertising campaign, and introduced the first-ever Australian Affirmation Ceremony kit, titled "Australians all let us rejoice," produced by his Department.

He was accompanied by Australian of the Year, Pat Rafter and Young Australian of the Year, Scott Hocknull. The event was held at the location where the campaign's Citizenship advertisement was filmed - Ithaca RSL, in Rosalie, Brisbane.

"Australian-born citizens have told me they have been deeply moved at the pledge taken by new citizens. They were passionate about their Citizenship, and wanted a chance to say so publicly, and formally.

"They now have the perfect opportunity to make a public declaration of loyalty to Australia and its people at Affirmation Ceremonies," Mr Hardgrave said.

"The campaign is the fulfilment of another Howard government election commitment and will run until the end of September. 'Australians All Let Us Rejoice' campaign includes television and print advertising, and activities aimed at culturally and linguistically diverse communities," Mr Hardgrave said.

"Affirmation ceremonies, though, are set to become a permanent part of our culture.

"The kit is intended to encourage organisations and individuals to think about holding Affirmation Ceremonies - not only as part of Citizenship ceremonies, but as separate and equally significant events."

Mr Hardgrave said that Australian citizens had taken up the opportunity to affirm their citizenship with great enthusiasm since Affirmation ceremonies were introduced in 1999. "Thousands of Australians are expected to take part in national ceremonies on Australian Citizenship Day on 17 September," he said.

Mr Hardgrave also invited eligible permanent residents to apply for Australian Citizenship in the lead-up to Australian Citizenship Day. Some 900,000 permanent residents are eligible to apply.

The campaign will target the largest groups of eligible permanent residents from the UK, New Zealand, Italy, Malaysia, Germany, China, the Netherlands, India, Ireland, Indonesia and the USA.

Held annually on September 17, Australian Citizenship Day will be celebrated in its second year with Citizenship and Affirmation Ceremonies across the country, including a special event in the Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra.

Affirmation Ceremony Kits will be distributed nationally to State and Federal MPs, councils, community groups, multicultural organisations and service clubs. The kit includes a poster, an affirmation card, a bookmark and information on how to hold an Affirmation ceremony.

"When people become citizens, they become full members of the Australian community showing their pride in Australia's diverse society and the values underpinning our way of life - our democratic institutions, a fair go for everyone, and respect for others," Mr Hardgrave said.

The Minister conferred Citizenship on two families and was able to present the children with individual Citizenship Certificates as a result of recent changes to citizenship law in July.

A poetry reading was performed by two young indigenous twins - Anthony and William Mickelo. Country music star Gina Jeffreys was MC of the launch and she sang the Australian National Anthem.

To find out more about Australian citizenship, people can ring the Citizenship Information Line on 131 880 or visit the Australian Citizenship Website on www.citizenship.gov.au.

12 August 2002


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