Australia prepares for Australian Citizenship Day

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Australia is preparing to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day on 17 September 2008. 1600 people will receive Australian citizenship in the days leading up to the event.

On 15 September 2008, almost 60 people became Australian citizens at an event known as Floriade, a flower and entertainment festival held in Canberra. People from Ethiopia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and India were among those obtaining citizenship at the Canberra ceremony.

The Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Andrew Metcalfe, said Citizenship Day was an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate and think about the significance of nationhood.

"Citizenship binds Australians together through our common commitment to the nation and our shared values," Metcalfe said. "As citizens, we share a commitment to mutual respect, equality, freedom, the rule of law and democracy. We share responsibilities to the nation and the opportunity to have a say in its future through voting."

"I welcome all of our new citizens and I urge all those who are thinking about becoming Australians to apply now," he added.

Citizenship Day events around Australia will include ceremonies in Brisbane, Devonport, Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney.

You can apply for Australian citizenship after living in Australia for four years as a permanent resident. Australia is known for its liberal immigration policies, notably its General Skilled Migration program which allows overseas workers to gain a permanent visa if they have skills in a wide variety of occupations.