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16 September 2008

More than 1600 people will become Australian citizens tomorrow as part of Australian Citizenship Day celebrations around the nation.

Citizenship Day events will include a ceremony on the Spirit of Tasmania passenger ship in Devonport, Tasmania as well as ceremonies at Perth's Bayswater City Council, Brisbane City Hall, the grand ballroom at Sky City Casino in Darwin, the 1st Victorian Sea Scout Hall in Melbourne's Albert Park, Ayers House in Adelaide and at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Parramatta office in Sydney.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, will confer 17 people with Australian citizenship at a special ceremony at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

'Australian Citizenship Day is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the value and meaning of Australian citizenship,' Senator Evans said.

'It is an opportunity for us to think about the changes that shaped our nation, and to reflect on the role we play in building Australia and our future.

'It is an appropriate time for us all to reflect on the responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen.

'Citizenship is a unifying force for our nation. We are enriched by people from more than 230 countries. Our record of welcoming and embracing new arrivals is fundamental to our identity, social cohesion and future as a nation.

'Through citizenship, we all share a commitment to values including mutual respect, equality, freedom of speech and religion, the rule of law and democracy.

'Citizenship means you belong to the Australian family and enjoy the responsibilities and privileges of living in the country and through voting to have a say in its future.

'More than 120 000 people became citizens in 2007-08. I encourage anyone who is eligible to join them and formally become a part of our community as Australian citizens.'

New Citizens at tomorrow's National Museum of Australia ceremony will include people from the Philippines, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany and Singapore.

'The ceremony at the National Museum reflects the relationship between Australian citizenship and the nation's social history,' Senator Evans said.

Media contact: Simon Dowding - 02 6277 7860 or 0411 138541

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