Australia’s Channel 10 personality and Spanish celebrity chef Miguel Maestre is among the new Australians who received Australian citizenship today. Miguel says he is becoming an Aussie because of his Australian-born two-year-old daughter.
Also receiving citizenship were Egyptian-born pharmacists, Bahar Derias and Ereny Ghabrial and their 11-year-old triplets, Andrew, Marian and Peter.
Sydney witnessed the citizenship ceremony involving people from 65 different countries, marking the completion of 65 years since the passage of Australia’s citizenship law. Before he Citizenship Act 1948 was passed, migrants could not become Australian citizens.
The event the Parramatta Riverside Theatre was part of the Parramasala festival programme, in recognition of the diversity of Parramatta.
One new young citizen, Angela Lopez from Spain, celebrated her sixth birthday in the company of 10 other family members who were also becoming citizens.
Since the first citizenship ceremony was staged, 4.5 million people have chosen to become Australian citizens, with a million new citizens in the past decade.
In 2012-13, about 120,000 people were conferred Australian citizenship. As much as 95 per cent of the nation’s population are Australian citizens.
This was the first citizenship ceremony for Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison.
“We encourage anyone who is eligible to formally become a part of our community as Australian citizens,” says Scott.
“Australian citizenship means accepting Australia as our home, embracing the Australian way of life and providing a settled environment for our children where they feel part of the country in which they will probably live for the rest of their lives,” he says.