Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Jan 26 citizen ceremonies to be compulsory

Jan 26 citizen ceremonies to be compulsory

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be in Fiji this Thursday and Friday.

Under the existing citizenship code, councils may choose to hold citizenship ceremonies, provided they comply with a set of guidelines outlined by the government.

He's also trying to ban board shorts. This is because around the country there is ongoing debate about whether or not the arrival of the first fleet - regarded by some as "invasion day" - is an appropriate date for Australia Day as it alienates indigenous Australians.

Yarra City Council in Melbourne was stripped of its power to hold citizenship ceremonies in August 2017.

The only other option for holding the ceremonies will be on September 17 - Australian Citizenship Day.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn't been afraid to wage battle in the culture wars since claiming the top job.

"By all means put on the boardies and thongs for the BBQ afterwards, but for the official ceremony, it's the right thing to do to show respect in how you dress for your new country of citizenship and your fellow new citizens", Mr Morrison said.

It has raised concerns including the cost of running events on public holidays.

David Coleman, the Federal Immigration Minister, has revealed that he plans to make changes to the code that dictates how citizenship events are handled so as to force councils to hold their ceremonies on January 26.

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said January 26 was the natural day for ceremonies to be staged.

"What better day than that day for new Australians to become Australians".

Prime Minister Morrison is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva on Thursday.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Morrison was creating a "fake problem".

He said regional councils like his own did not have "the quantity of applications for citizenship, and therefore may not be able to hold a ceremony on this day".

Australia Day ceremonies in 2011.

"If the Federal Government had bothered to consult with us in the development of this policy, they would have heard that in some locations, it's simply too hot for councils to hold ceremonies during the day, so they do it the evening before, just as the Federal Government does with its Australian of the Year Ceremony".

The government says it will consider feedback from councils before introducing the code.

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