Friday, 17 September is Australian Citizenship Day. Australian Citizenship Day is a chance for all of us to reflect on what it means to be an Australian citizen and to celebrate our values, our diversity and our richness of spirit. More than 140 citizenship ceremonies will take place across the country (many virtually) and more than 7,000 people will become citizens.
Australian Citizenship Day, 17 September
We celebrate Australian Citizenship Day each year on 17 September.
17 September 2021 holds even greater significance as it marks the 20th anniversary of Australian Citizenship Day.
The day is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on:
- the meaning and importance of Australian citizenship
- responsibilities and privileges we have as citizens.
Whether we are citizens through birth or by active choice, it is a chance for all Australians to:
- take pride in our citizenship
- celebrate our democratic values
- think about what unites us as Australians.
Every year on this day, Australia welcomes thousands of new citizens in local communities across the nation.
History of Australian Citizenship Day
Australian Citizenship Day was first celebrated in 2001.
The Australian Government established the day in 2001 in response to a recommendation by the Australian Citizenship Council in their 2000 report Australian Citizenship for a New Century.
The recommendation came from a proposal of the 1999 National Schools Constitutional Convention that a citizenship day be established to allow all Australians to celebrate their Australian citizenship.
17 September was chosen as Australian Citizenship Day as it is the anniversary of the renaming, in 1973, of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 to the Australian Citizenship Act 1948.
Celebrating Australian Citizenship Day
Since 2001, the Department and local councils promote this day by holding:
- special citizenship ceremonies
- affirmation ceremonies
- other events around the country.
Schools, organisations and community groups are also encouraged to organise special events and activities.
Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. Since 1949, we have welcomed over five million new citizens to our shores.
Our Australian citizenship is the common bond which unites us all.
Through our Australian citizenship, we have a commitment to respect and uphold the values of Australian society which are:
- respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual;
- freedom of religion (including the freedom not to follow a particular religion), freedom of speech and freedom of association;
- commitment to the rule of law, which means that all people are subject to the law and should obey it;
- parliamentary democracy whereby our laws are determined by parliaments elected by the people, those laws being paramount and overriding any other inconsistent religious or secular “laws”;
- equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, race or national or ethnic origin;
- a ‘fair go’ for all that embraces:
- mutual respect;
- compassion for those in need;
- equality of opportunity for all;
- the English language as the national language, and as an important unifying element of Australian society.