‘A privilege’: Thousands of new citizens call Aust home
Andrew Brown and Nyk Carnsew |
From all corners of the world, Australia has welcomed thousands of its newest citizens in ceremonies across the nation.
More than 22,000 people from more than 150 countries took the citizenship pledge on Australia Day.
Among those were Beverly Cruz and her 13-year-old son Zyle, originally from the Philippines, who took part in the national citizenship ceremony in Canberra.
Ms Cruz originally moved to Australia in 2016 to study nursing and now works in aged care.
However, she became separated from her family during the height of the COVID pandemic, not being able to see Zyle or her husband for two years, until they were able to reunite in Australia.
She said becoming a new citizen of Australia was filled with many emotions.
“I didn’t know how to express how happy I am to become a new citizen and it is a big privilege,” she told AAP.
“We’re now looking forward to our future as a family and looking forward to being Australian citizens.”
Ms Cruz said her first day as an Australian citizen was going to be spent eating and celebrating with family marking the milestone.
Seku Drame was also among the 16 new citizens at the Canberra ceremony.
He arrived in Australia from Liberia 15 years ago as part of Australia’s humanitarian program and started year 10 to catch up on education he missed due to his birth country’s civil war.
Now studying engineering and commerce at university, he said it was an honour to be an Australian citizen.
“It was a very easy decision (to become a citizen), it took longer because I had lost my travel documents,” he said.
High school teacher Carrie Wang took the citizenship pledge in Sydney after emigrating from China in 2012 aged 15.
The day was up there with her wedding day, which she also recently celebrated.
“Equal first, best days of my life,” she said.
“I feel really lucky being here because in my third year of teaching I got an award from the Teachers’ Guild of NSW for being an excellent teacher.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia was richer for having more people choose to call it home.
“On behalf of all your fellow Australians, thank you for joining our family, for adding yourselves to the picture, and for showing the depth of your commitment to our country, to your country,” he said in Canberra.AAP