A new chapter has begun, PM Albanese tells new citizens on Australia Day
Speech by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a flag-raising and citizenship ceremony for Australia Day held at Commonwealth Park, Canberra, on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
(See translation in Arabic section)
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
I am proud to lead a government committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in full.
As we gather to celebrate the next chapter in the success story of our great and diverse society, let us all recognise the unique privilege we have to share this continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture.
All over our nation, over 19,000 people from every part of the world, drawn from every faith and background will pledge their loyalty to their new home, to Australia, our democratic beliefs, our laws, our values and our people; joining our Australian family; joining us as proud citizens of the greatest country on earth and joining us as partners in the ongoing task of making it greater still: more fair, more prosperous, more equal.
You hail from Nigeria, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt, Malaysia and the US.
You bring us the world and you bring us your drive, your passion, your talent and aspiration.
Looking through the list of occupations represented by you, it’s a roll-call of skills Australia wants and needs: Disability, community and mental health support workers; scientists, pharmacists; a mechanical estimator; administrators, cleaners; accountants and customer service professionals, and two astronomers!
It’s so special to see the children here today as well.
To you, our young Australians, so full of energy and potential. I want you to know that you are now becoming citizens of a country where no matter where you live, or who you worship, no matter who you love or what your last name is, you can write your own future.
My great predecessor Ben Chifley attended the very first Australian citizenship ceremony, held in 1949, just over the lake at Albert Hall.
Seven migrants took the pledge that day to become the first ‘naturalised’ Australians. The very first person to have their name called was a 34-year old called Jan Jandura-Pucek
He’d come to Australia a decade earlier from what was then Czechoslovakia, working as a eucalyptus oil distiller in Tidbinbilla. The plan was to earn and save for a couple of years before returning home to his wife and family.
But the devastation of World War II and the uncertainty of the encroaching Iron Curtain meant he decided to stay in Australia and try and have his wife join him. Through those long hard years, he exchanged only a few letters with his family.
The first time his wife would see her husband’s face again was when she was on the boat from Melbourne to Sydney, newly arrived in Australia, looking at the newspaper.
There it was: a photograph of her husband at that first citizenship ceremony.
The two were reunited, they built a life together; raised a family.
The first of 5.7 million people who have taken-up citizenship since. All with their own story, their own dreams, their own moments of joy and love, sadness and adversity too.
Each and every migrant generation has broadened our horizons, deepened our identity and enriched our nation with their hard work, their sense of community and their driving aspiration for their children to enjoy a better life.
Their story is ours. A new chapter begins.
For all of you receiving your Australian citizenship - and for all of us — for all Australians - who welcome you with open arms and an open heart: congratulations!