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Campaign to make Non-British migrants more aware of opportunities to become Australian citizens



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EMBARGO .EMBARGO ■ EMBARGO EMBARGO EMBARGO

For release after 6.30 p.m. Monday, August 19>

1963

EM d aEGO .

32/63

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR M I G R A T I O N ,

THE H O N ♦ A .R . POWDER, M.P.

The Minister for Immigration, Mr. Downer, today

announced a campaign to make non-British migrants more aware

of their opportunities to "become Australian citizens.

He said that a new series of colourful and attractive­

ly designed pamphlets and posters would ."be distributed through­

out Australia in the next few weeks.

The new literature 'would make it possible for the

first time for a migrant to fill out a form of application

for citizenship and post it direct to the Department of ·

Immigration. Previously it had been necessary to write for

an- application form.

Mr. Downer said that, while it was expected that the

campaign would result in an increase in applications for

naturalization, the main aim was to ensure that full informat­

ion on citizenship and the means of achieving it was placed .

before new settlers. .

"Actually, the rate of naturalization of migrants from

Europe is very high. By now, 400,000 have been naturalized

since the war - a remarkable figure, which is more than 60 -

per cent of those eligible. ' "

"About 252,000 who are eligible have not yet applied.

But 20 per cent of these are children. · . "

" "Another 293,000 non-British migrants who arrived

within the past five years are not, yet eligible for citizenship.

The new information material and simplified application will

encourage all these people when they are considering becoming

Australians. . ' . .

"Our purpose is ,to invite settlers who are eligible ·

to join us in citizenship, but hot to persuade them against

their will," Mr. Downer said. · ' /2 ·

"The Gov ernment recognises tha t ' the question of. ■

■ citizenship.involves personal, intimate and often very complex

decisions which must he left to the individual migrant himself.

"Some migrants take longer than others to adjust to '

their new life and to make these decisions. .

"Normally, an adult migrant must live in Australia .

for 4-i years before he is eligible to apply for naturalization.

"Our experience has been however, that the average

lapse of time between arrival and application for naturalization

is about eight years.” '

Giving details of the new publications, Mr. Downer

said that a pamphlet, "How to become an Australian citizen",

discussed the conditions of naturalization and the rights and

responsibilities of citizenship. · It told migrants:

"No migrant is expected to disown his former cultural

identity ... For the migrant·who has settled happily in

Australia, citizenship is .the logical and honourable solution

to a state of uncertainty and indecision. . He might well

regard it not so much as the closing of a door on the past, as

the opening of a door on the future."

The pamphlet, with an application form and a reply-

paid envelope, was enclosed in a folder, "An invitation to

Australian citizenship."

Another folder, "You can help someone to become an .

Australian citizen", was addressed to Australians who might

wish to explain the conditions of naturalization to. their

migrant friends. - .

In addition, four different posters would be distributed,

bearing the slogan, "Citizenship is your share in Australia”.

■ Mr. Downer said he- would--also continue sending ·

personal letters of invitation to migrants as they became

eligible for citizenship. ·. '

Department of Immigration,' · · ■ ' · ' · .

CANBERRA. A.C.T. . ;

2 .

19th August, 1963·