Virtual citizenship ceremonies for new Australians

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Councils Citizenship Ceremonies will be run virtually for the first time. Photo: QPRC.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Councils Citizenship Ceremonies will be run virtually for the first time. Photo: QPRC.

For the first time, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council's Citizenship Ceremonies will be run virtually as we welcome new Australians during the stay-at-home orders.

Five modified ceremonies are being held on September 9, allowing 45 conferees to become Australian citizens.

Ali Embran is one of the conferees at this ceremony. Originally from Afghanistan, Ali also lived in Italy for some time before coming to Australia.

"I notice the respect different people from different countries have for each other here. For me this is a country of opportunities and fairness. In Australia I feel like I'm home, and that's something I have been missing for many years," Ali Embran said.

Joanne Dam, another conferee, moved here from the Netherlands and is ready to be part of the community in every way. Being a teacher here in Australia Joanne has felt included in most aspects of daily life but there are some things limited to citizens.

"Because my partner and I were Dutch we were voting in the Netherlands but now becoming an Australian means that we can actually participate in those things here, which makes a lot more sense," Joanne Dam said.

The online ceremony may not feel the same as the face-to-face equivalent, but these soon-to-be-citizens are happy to be involved.

"I would have loved doing a face-to-face ceremony but with the whole covid situation we're all in this together. I'm happy that I still have the opportunity to become a citizen instead of having to wait another six months," Joanne Dam said.

"With so much uncertainty an online ceremony seems like a smart thing to do," Ali Embran said.

"We are proud to be involved in such an important occasion and glad that we are able to continue to provide this opportunity for today's new Australians," Mayor Tim Overall said.

"Citizenship ceremonies are a very special occasion in any person's life, and it is an honour that we can welcome these new Australians to our community."