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Minister launches book to help new citizens

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144

MRS 5/98


A book to help future Australian citizens better understand their new country was launched today by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock.

What it Means to be an Australian Citizen includes brief summaries of Australian history, heritage, symbols, institutions and laws. .

"The Government has a strong commitment to Australian citizenship and believes that a true sense of nationhood can be enhanced by a greater understanding of the rights and responsibilities which come with citizenship," Mr Ruddock said.

"Australians value many basic rights including equality of treatment, equality under the law, democracy, and equal opportunity for all. Our strength as a nation is a direct result of these shared values - and the centrepiece of our, unity is Australian citizenship."

"This book will help prepare and equip people from a diverse range of backgrounds to become part of our unique Australian society."

Mr Ruddock also released the updated guidelines for the conduct of citizenship ceremonies by local Councils, Australian Citizenship Ceremonies - A Handbook for Local Government, a publication provided to councils to help them conduct citizenship ceremonies.

"Often, people born in Australia do not realise the profound nature of the decision to take out Australian citizenship, and it is important that the ceremony reflects the significance of the occasion," Mr Ruddock said.

"Local governments have an important role to play in ensuring that citizenship ceremonies are a meaningful experience for people who have chosen to make Australia their home."

The new guidelines have been developed after widespread consultation and will provide more information and guidance on how to prepare for, and hold citizenship ceremonies.

The Minister launched the two publications at Orientations, an exhibition of immigration-related art, organised by the Parliament House Art Collection staff to complement the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra.

20 January 1998

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Steve Ingram 02 6277 7860 0419 278 715 Bronwyn Collins (DIMA) 02 6264 1667


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