AUSTRALIA DAY SILLY POLITICAL GAMES
It is very disappointing that Federal and State Liberal party politicians are politicising the City of Fremantle’s decision to have an Australia day event on January 28 and not on the 26th.
The claim that new citizens would be denied being sworn in on the 26th is pretty shallow, since they have only had that opportunity since 1994, the day Australia Day was introduced.
I was sworn in as an Australian citizen on December 19, 1985 and don’t feel I missed out on anything because the extreme significance of changing one’s citizenship is a whole lot bigger than the date it happens on.
Changing nationality is a huge step for anyone, and for me and my German partner it also meant we had to hand back our European passports as the Netherlands and Germany did not permit dual citizenship at that time. That’s a huge step and decision to make!
I have been going to the Fremantle citizenship ceremony for years and will attend no matter what day it is on because I know it is quite an emotional day for many who take the big step, but the importance of becoming a new citizen of this country is lost on most Australians as hardly any attend the ceremonies and mainly friends, family, colleagues and a few politicians turn up for it.
Personally I would like to see more substance at citizenship ceremonies with a prominent Fremantle migrant talking about what it means to become Australian and an Aboriginal elder explaining the significance of Walyalup and the Noongar people.
I find it disappointing that politicians who are keen on scoring cheap points before the March W.A. election believe a 22 year-old tradition is more significant than showing respect for a 50,000 year-old culture. That does not seem the right priority to me.
For Premier Colin Barnett and others to say Fremantle might ban Christmas because it would upset Muslims is absurd, ridiculous and stupid, and it shows the Premier is desperately trying to attract votes from the right wing and One Nation voters.
Christmas has been a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for hundreds of years all over the world, while Australia Day has only been celebrated for 22 years and is based on the invasion by the British of what is now New South Wales.
Those who want fireworks can still see them at the Fishing Boat Harbour on the 26th or go to Perth for the huge event there, and on January 28 we can all enjoy a great concert on the Fremantle Esplanade to celebrate our community and multiculturalism. The City of Fremantle offers us a choice!