Ten new citizens from eight nations welcomed
IPSWICH has 10 new citizens after a ceremony held at an Ipswich City Rotary meeting at the civic centre.
The citizens - two from New Zealand, two from India and one each from Iran, Sudan, Germany, Thailand, Ireland and South Africa - pledged their allegiance to the nation at an induction presided over by Mayor Paul Pisasale, also the rotary club president.
Former New Zealander David Goss, who works for UnitingCare Queensland and lives in Springfield Lakes, said the ceremony came at the end of a long quest to become an Australian.
"I've been trying to do it for five years and it is a hard process for New Zealanders,” he said.
"I made a mistake in the middle of it when I left the country to go to Gallipoli for the centenary, so then I had to start the process all over again.
"I need to be an Australian citizen because of my work. I need negative vetting level 1 clearance because I worked in defence back in New Zealand, and I can't get that without being a citizen.
"I'm also a passionate political person and I want to join a party and become active again.
"I've lived in Australia for nine years and I've brought my two boys here and they have grown up here, and we have a Rotary exchange student living with us as well.
"I don't think New Zealanders and Australians are that different, but Australia is very multicultural and very similar to where I come from in New Zealand.”
Cr Pisasale, whose parents immigrated to Australia from the southern Sicily city of Syracuse, said it was another sign of the multicultural aspect of Ipswich.
"We have to make sure that everyone feels welcomed here and that they embrace our values,” he said.
"When my parents came out from Sicily they could hardly speak English, and it was difficult, but Australia welcomed them.
"They made us Italians and Greeks feel welcome, and in return we showed them all about good food.
"We are seeing people from all nations and now we have 10 new citizens and it is great to see.”
Cr Pisasale said getting the OK for the ceremony was a process but that the Department of Immigration had finally relented.