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Australia Day sees 17,000 people become citizens

Australia Day sees 17,000 people become citizens

Australia Day celebrations have seen a record 17,059 people from 145 countries transition from a variety of immigration visas to citizenships.

Minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen, said that the annual day of national celebration is the most popular day for affirming new allegiances - with 430 ceremonies taking place across the country.

He commented: "Australia Day is a special day for all Australians to come together to celebrate what is great about our nation - our rich history and our promising future.

"It is also a fitting opportunity for all of us - whether Australians by birth or by choice - to recognise our common bond and unique diversity while celebrating the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship. I encourage those becoming new citizens today to help in building up our nation and we look forward to the contribution you will make to our national story."

A Canberra ceremony on Saturday (January 26) saw a number of people receive their citizenship papers directly from the prime minister, one of whom was British actress Miriam Margolyes - a veteran of film, stage and screen.

Across New South Wales, there were 115 ceremonies, with the immigration minister presiding over a service in Merrylands and the Holroyd City Council chambers.

Up to 3,800 citizens from 113 countries have chosen to reside in the Waratah State as new citizens.

The largest regional event in the state took place in Gosford, where council hosted 123 conferees.

There was the same number of new citizens in Victoria as there were in New South Wales - with about 80 ceremonies taking place across the state.

Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open is held every January, saw a number people receive their new documentation on the same day of the women's final, between Li Na and Victoria Azarenka.

Queensland saw the greatest number of inductees, with nearly 5,000 people attending ceremonies across the Sunshine State. The single biggest event seen across the country was at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre where 1,200 conferees were welcomed.

Perth hosted the second biggest ceremony - with 700 attendees taking the pledge of loyalty to this country.

Mr Bowen added that these new Australians join the almost 4.5 million people who have chosen to live here since 1949 when ceremonies first began.

He concluded by saying that he welcomes and congratulates Australia's newest members, as they cease their lives as migrants to become fully fledged citizens.

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