Australia goes beyond just being a country, and Australia Day goes beyond a mere commemoration; for immigrants, it becomes a symbol of hope and safety, a place of refuge from difficult journeys across seas and deserts and the dangers of human trafficking. It’s not just a piece of land; it’s a sanctuary full of opportunities where immigrants, after facing challenges, find comfort and the promise of a better life. Here, one person granted citizenship writes on the importance of Australia Day and what Australia has to offer.
In the intricate tapestry of global migration, where history narrates tales of both triumph and tribulation, the divergence in nations’ approaches to granting citizenship is stark. In some countries, for example Middle Eastern countries, the notion of obtaining citizenship remains an unthinkable prospect, with paths obscured by complexities. In countries like the kingdom, citizenship is selectively granted to “experts and exceptional global talents,” while others, like the UAE, impose a staggering 30-year wait to be considered. In this landscape, Australia emerges not just as a nation but as a symbol of generosity, woven together by the diverse contributions of immigrants from 130 nations, including the venerable Aboriginal culture.
Gratitude: A Binding Force: This article serves as a testament to the profound gratitude owed to Australia. As one among the six million citizens, particularly as a political asylum seeker, the generosity of this nation is not lost on me. Beyond the legalities, it is a binding force rooted in deep appreciation for the sanctuary granted – a sanctuary that has become a shared home.
Australia goes beyond just being a country, and Australia Day goes beyond a mere commemoration; for immigrants, it becomes a symbol of hope and safety, a place of refuge from difficult journeys across seas and deserts and the dangers of human trafficking. It’s not just a piece of land; it’s a sanctuary full of opportunities where immigrants, after facing challenges, find comfort and the promise of a better life.
Australia reveals the precious gifts of freedom and equality to those who have been oppressed, giving them the freedom to speak, act, and dream without fear. Getting citizenship isn’t just a legal thing; it means you belong. It’s like finding a stable home for immigrants who felt lost and adrift. The richness of different cultures in Australia brings a feeling of unity in diversity.
Australia’s generosity not only ensures survival but provides a chance for immigrants to thrive and contribute to society, creating a deep sense of gratitude. The tough journey, full of challenges and sacrifices, ends with a strong feeling of belonging, as Australia warmly embraces newcomers as valuable community members. On Australia Day, gratitude goes beyond legal recognition; it’s a heartfelt acknowledgment of the human journey—marked by resilience, hope, and the pursuit of a better life. For immigrants, this day represents more than just citizenship; it’s about feeling accepted and looking forward to a shared future in the land down under.
One of the most striking facets of Australia is its commitment to equal opportunities and equality before the law, principles that stand in stark contrast to the oppressive regimes faced in our homelands. Denied fundamental rights such as the freedom to leave, vote, or criticize authorities, arriving in Australia unfolds as a transformative experience.
The other day, while watching the ABC program “Q&A,” witnessing Australians boldly holding their leaders accountable, exercising freedom of speech, and championing the principles of accountability left me in tears of joy and envy. Observing ministers being questioned and, when necessary, humbly replying or apologizing, I aspire to have the opportunity to instill the values and ethos learned in this great nation back in my homeland one day.
Repaying the Gift of Citizenship:
Gratitude and expressing thanks to the people and the country are essential manifestations of appreciation, but they are not endpoints in themselves. True gratitude must be demonstrated through actions that reciprocate this thankfulness. It evolves into a solemn responsibility as citizens. Repaying the award of citizenship goes beyond mere adherence to laws; it necessitates active engagement in community improvement. We must not only abide by the principles outlined in the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance, which stands as the ultimate commitment, but also uphold democratic values and contribute meaningfully to the flourishing society that defines Australia. As citizens, our role is to be contributors, not just recipients. This entails working diligently, passing on our knowledge and skills to the new generation, volunteering, donating if possible, taking a frontline stance, and, if necessary, offering our lives in support. In times of natural disasters, we must extend our assistance and support.
In the realm of our collective responsibilities, working for social cohesion takes on high importance. Among the wrong paths chosen by politicians in our home countries, exemplified by conflicts like that in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinians, we must be agents of construction, not tools or victims of their manipulation. Instead of succumbing to their divisive tactics and fostering hatred among ourselves, we must actively work towards social cohesion. Our responsibility extends beyond personal opinions; it involves shielding Australia from the bitter divisiveness that plagues our homelands. By embracing diversity, upholding democratic values, and actively participating in the democratic process, we contribute to preserving the harmonious essence that defines Australia.
In our new country Australia, we must refrain from importing the bitter divisiveness that plagues our homelands, for doing so is akin to biting the breast that nourished our sanctuary.
Citizenship as a Cornerstone:
In his eloquent Australian Day 2024 speech, The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP emphasized, “We are always at our best when we work together and, crucially, when we look to the future together.” This collaborative spirit is pivotal in shaping Australia into an even better, stronger, fairer, and more prosperous country. His words encapsulate the essence of Australia Day, where unity and a collective vision steer the nation’s course.
Highlighting the significance of citizenship, The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP underscores its role as a cornerstone of Australia’s inclusive and pluralist democracy. It embodies the notion that individuals can thrive when they are ready to ‘have a go.’ However, in a world grappling with terrorist outreach, securing the future of our strong, safe, and cohesive society cannot be taken lightly. A national conversation about the role of citizenship becomes imperative in shaping this collective future.
Bridging Borders: Navigating Global Citizenship as New Australians
As new citizens of Australia, it’s essential for us to expand our outlook beyond national borders, recognizing the intricate interdependence of countries in today’s interconnected world. The unfolding events in the Pacific, Southern Seas, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan and beyond are not distant occurrences; they directly influence our lives. As ambassadors of peace, we bear the responsibility of demonstrating global wisdom and maturity, particularly amidst conflicts in our home countries.
Borders, man-made constructs, sharply contrast with the natural coexistence designed by a higher order. Embracing the concept of global citizenship, we must collaboratively address global realities—from individual actions to the responsibilities of nation-states. Our newfound citizenship offers us the unique opportunity to extend our positive influence and humanity beyond the confines of national boundaries. It’s crucial to underscore our shared responsibility for the overall well-being of humanity. Embracing this broader perspective, we actively contribute to nurturing a world where collaboration, understanding, and unity prevail over artificial boundaries, fostering the collective betterment of all.
In the intricate tapestry of Australia’s benevolence, a luminous beacon of hope illuminates the shared journey of diverse immigrants. This odyssey, characterized by tears of joy and fleeting pangs of envy, moulds an unyielding commitment to exemplifying citizenship. As we collectively revel in Australia’s limitless generosity on this special day, let us remain cognisant of the profound responsibility we bear both within the Australian borders and on the global stage. It is our duty to actively contribute to upholding the unity and vibrancy that define this nation—a nation that stands as a beacon of hope in a world often entangled in strife.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,
“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”
In this spirit, Australia’s generosity serves as a model for fostering a society where collective well-being and unity prevail and let’s say this together …….
To advance Australia fair
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair
National Citizenship Ceremony. Speech Transcript
Friday 26 January 2024 Rond Terrace, Canberra
Source: grateful asylum seeker