At least three members of the first batch of resettled Bhutanese in Melbourne have obtained Australian citizenship certificates on January 26. There were resettled in early 2008 through the third country resettlement program overseen by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The new Bhutanese-Australian included Ghana Shyam Luitel, his wife Randata and son Preson. They received the citizenship papers at the function in Kensington, Melbourne from Adam Bandt, Federal Member of Parliament (MP) from the City of Melbourne.
Expressing her joys, Randata said, “It is a relief to have received the citizenship which is a everlasting identity. Now, we never have to worry about the identity and status, as the citizenship of Australia is answer to all our past.”
While her husband Ghana Shyam said, “It was emotional moment to be taking the oath of citizenship and changing our status from nowhere to a proud Australian citizen.”
Meanwhile, the second lot from the first batch of resettled Bhutanese in Albury of New South Wales also obtained their citizenships. The first lot had obtained their citizenship certificates in last November.
Resettled Bhutanese Lalit Bhujel, his wife Brinda and daughter Laxma who had arrived in the remote town of Albury in state of New South Wales in Australia in 2008, received Australian citizenship on Australia Day, 26th January 2013.
Receiving citizenship on this historical day has high significance to recipients as well Australia, as on this day in 1901 Australia had become the Federation with its own constitution.
Lalit said, “Becoming citizen is a commitment to the country, a commitment to the way of life and a sense of belonging and as Australian citizen we feel now as a part of this country. It is a proud moment, a significant moment that we shall remember the rest of our lives.”
“We got back our lost identity for the one we had lost some twenty three years ago,” added he emotionally.
Councillor Alice Glachan, the Mayor of Albury City Council, granted the citizenship among hundreds of gathering at the Noreuil Park in Albury.
Delivering her speech, she said, “Being Australian is something to be proud of and we look forward to welcoming our new residents and being able to share the day with them”.
History of Citizenship
There has been a tradition to offer citizenships to migrants since 26 January 1949 after the Nationality and Citizenship Act came into effect creating the new status of Australian citizen. This important piece of legislation meant that for the first time migrants could truly call Australia home. Prior to this, most people living in Australia were known as British subjects. The first ever ceremony was held on 3 February 1949, seven men, one to represent each state of Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia became citizens in Australia’s first-ever citizenship ceremony held at Albert Hall.
On 26th January 2013, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, welcomed a record 17 059 people from 145 countries who are becoming Australian citizens as part of Australia Day celebrations, with 430 special ceremonies being staged across the nation.
Since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949, over four and half million people from over 200 countries has chosen to become Australian citizens, said Mr Bowen.
Contributed by Parsuram Sharma – Luitel from Melbourne for BNS