A record number of people became citizens this year on January 26, Australia Day, the ABC broadcasting network reported.
Around 12,000 people became citizens in 275 ceremonies on the public holiday commemorating the establishment of the first British settlement in Australia in 1788. Government officials are encouraging others who are eligible to take the step. About 900,000 people, including 300,000 from the United Kingdom and 200,000 from New Zealand, fall into this category.
At citizenship events in Sydney and Canberra respectively, Australia's Governor General Major General Michael Jeffery and Prime Minister John Howard both made speeches welcoming immigrants.
See our Australia immigration pages for more information on getting to Australia.