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Migrants and refugees to learn about Australian citizenship

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Migration media release 22/99 Page 1 o f2

Philip Ruddock MR Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Migrants and refugees to learn about Australian citizenship MPS 22/99

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today announced the development of a new kit to teach migrants and refugees about Australian citizenship.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the international English language conference "The AMEP: 50 Years of Nation Building" in Melbourne, Mr Ruddock said the

initiative was part of a year of celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Australian citizenship.

"This year of celebrations aims to bring all Australians closer by developing a greater recognition that this nation's strength lies in the unity and commitment of its people, as represented by Australian citizenship.

"The citizenship kit will provide Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) students with information about our history, our democratic system of government and the benefits and responsibilities of becoming an Australian citizen.

"It will form part of a range of information provided to newly-arrived migrants and refugees under the AMEP.

"Australian citizenship is the symbol of our shared values - the values of democracy, equality of treatment, equality under the law, and equal opportunity for all."

The announcement follows a special ceremony at conference, in which Mr Ruddock conferred Australian citizenship on a group of new arrivals who are current or recent clients of the AMEP.

"By choosing to become Australian citizens, these people have made a very significant expression of their commitment to our nation," Mr Ruddock said.

"I hope that the new Australian citizenship kit will encourage more new arrivals to not only take up their right to formal membership of the Australian community, but to truly understand what it means to be an Australian citizen".

Mr Ruddock said the AMEP complements Australian 17/02/1999

Migration media release 22/99 Page 2 of 2

citizenship by assisting new arrivals learn English and settle more successfully into the Australian community.

"As the only language program of its kind in the world, the AMEP is acknowledged as a world leader.

"Since it began in 1948, the AMEP has helped about one and a half million of Australia's new arrivals to leam English and is one of our key migrant settlement schemes."

The AMEP provides nine million hours of English language tuition a year, and last year assisted over 39,000 clients from 89 language backgrounds.

Friday, 12 February 1999 Media Inquiries: Brad Robinson (02) 6277 7860 or 0419 278 715

For more information, visit the AMEP 50th anniversary website.

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