Ways to celebrate your Australian citizenship

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Part of Australian Citizenship is having pride in Australia. In fact, the Australian government introduced a special day to celebrate everyone’s citizenship in 2001 and since then, tens of thousands of Australian citizens and non-citizens look forward to celebrating Australian Citizenship Day every 17th of September. Across the country, events are held for people to affirm and celebrate their Australian citizenship, which can be done through the following ways:

Australian Citizenship Day 2013: Four ways to celebrate

DIAC 2013 initiative

For this year’s Australian Citizenship Day, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship launched a social media initiative to discover how people live by their citizenship. DIAC encourages everyone to record a video of how they affirm their citizenship and post them on Instagram.

“The citizenship affirmation is a way for Australians to publicly affirm their commitment and loyalty to this wonderful country,” a DIAC spokesman said.

Entrants to the campaign must start with the words “As an Australian citizen, I affirm . . .” and then explain their own way of giving meaning to being a citizen of Australia. DIAC will share the best entries on its Facebook, Twitter, and Storify accounts.

Affirmation ceremony

Every year on September 17th, it is a tradition in Australia to hold an affirmation ceremony at both national and local levels. On this day, people gather together in various community and organisational locations in order to publicly affirm their loyalty and commitment to Australia and its people.

An affirmation ceremony is a short event where gathered people—young and old, citizen or non-citizen—recites the following lines together:

As an Australian citizen,
I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect,
and whose laws I uphold and obey.

Australian Citizenship Day is also celebrated by awarding citizenship to hundreds of migrants, where the event is facilitated by an authority and the recipients are handed their own Australian citizenship affirmation card.

School and workplace event

This special event of national pride can also be celebrated at schools and in workplaces. In schools, September 17 is a perfect day to build on the civics and citizenship learning outcomes of students, where students who demonstrated good citizenship are awarded and a guest speaker inspires students to continue becoming good citizens of Australia.

In workplaces, celebrating this day may involve holding a tea party, decorating offices, raising funds for charity or a local community project, sharing a favourite Australian recipe, or awarding a certificate of appreciation to a good citizen in the workplace. Of course, the major component of the celebration is the group affirmation ceremony.

Community engagement

Proud Australian citizens not only carry their citizenship in words but also in practice. During Australian Citizenship Day, everyone is encouraged to give back to their community by volunteering, raising funds, organising a barbeque, or welcoming neighbours. These engagements are simple but invaluable ways to create a better Australia.

DIAC also sponsors the Local Hero Award; it is one category of the Australian of the Year Awards—alongside the Young Australian of the Year and the Senior Australian of the Year—that recognises ordinary individuals making extraordinary efforts in their local community.

Australia considers the synergistic efforts of individual citizens essential in building a better nation. The Australian Citizenship Day is a special day where everyone’s little efforts are recognised and where people realise the benefits of being a citizen of Australia. Although a country of great cultural diversity, Australia has proven that genuine unity amongst its people is the biggest factor in building a beautiful and prosperous nation.

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