The Federal Government has ramped up its efforts to force local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.
- Several councils have already been stripped of their power to host citizenship events
- Some councils wish to move ceremonies to a less contentious day
- The Immigration Minister said “becoming an Australian on our national day is a privilege”
Immigration Minister David Coleman has announced he will update the code that governs how citizenship ceremonies are conducted, to ensure they are held on January 26.
Several councils around the country — including Melbourne’s Yarra and Darebin — have already been stripped of their power to host citizenship events after voting to move the ceremonies to a less contentious day.
Yarra City Council replaced its citizenship ceremony with an event “marking the loss of Indigenous culture”.
The Government says any breaches to the new code will see more councils lose the ability to host the ceremonies throughout the year.
“New citizens should be given the opportunity to become an Australian on our national day,” Mr Coleman said.
“While most councils already hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, becoming an Australian on our national day is a great privilege and I want more people to have that opportunity.
“Australia Day is an incredibly important part of our national calendar, and each year Australians in huge numbers celebrate our success at the many events organised by councils across the country.”
Councils will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the code.