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Monday, 12 November 1973
Page: 3093

Mr OLDMEADOW (HOLT, VICTORIA) - I direct to the Minister for Immigration a question relating to citizenship ceremonies. Following the passing of the Australian Citizenship Act will the Minister consider issuing a new procedure for citizenship ceremonies to ensure that these most important occasions are given added dignity and decorum? In this connection, will the Minister also ensure that adequate advice is given on the national anthem following its selection in the new year?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - It is our intention, following the passing of the Australian Citizenship Act, to issue new guidance on procedures for citizenship ceremonies in the future. I should like to say that in more than 800 local government areas throughout the whole of Australia there has been over the years a very fine effort made by the overwhelming majority of local government bodies and their officers to assist in the carrying out of what were known in the past as naturalisation ceremonies. 1 know that in the honourable member's area there is a very high standard. However, it is true that in one or two regrettable instances some of the people who have been representing Ministers, past and present, have not 'been too clear as to which citizenship they were conferring and in what country the recipients resided. I recall that on one occasion a shire president took the view that he was naturalising a group of people who were former enemies of this country and whom he would never really like. He has been long sent to his reward. I would just say in reply to some concern that has been expressed in regard to a minority of cases in which there has not been due dignity and decorum observed that following the passing of the new Act we will be making a special effort to ensure that all local government bodies are aware of the drill and procedure and which will conform to the best standards possible.

We have taken advice on this matter following a visit to Canada and to the United States. I pay a tribute to the Canadian system of conferring citizenship by saying that it is a magnificent one. We hope to do even better in the future. I thank the honourable member for his reference to the new national anthem which will be selected next year. I think his suggestion is a very useful one. The advice will include guidance as to . its legal status, its words and, if possible, its music. I have made

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