Feds' coercive approach to Australia Day citizenship ceremonies heavy-handed


Under new changes to the code which governs how citizenship ceremonies are conducted, the Federal Government will force local councils to hold them on Australia Day.

Under the existing citizenship code, councils may choose to hold citizenship ceremonies, provided they comply with a set of guidelines outlined by the government.

The revision, announced on Sunday, is a push from the government to ensure Australia Day celebrations continue to be held on January 26, after multiple councils previous year voted in favour of holding citizenship ceremonies on a less contentious date.

Mr Coleman acknowledged that "there is no requirement" forcing councils to hold their citizenship ceremonies on the 26 of January and that Government was planning to engineer that requirement.

However, Fijian officials have rejected claims the Australian-born terrorist is a citizen of their country and accused Canberra of failing to consult them properly.

Local councils will be forced to hold the event on Australia Day, rather than opting for alternative dates.

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The special minister of state said he would advocate against changing the date if the perennial debate was put to a public test, but would respect the will of Australians if they wanted to celebrate on a different day.

"I've not heard anything to suggest that the whole of the community would not support that action as well", he said.

"If you want to hold Australia Day ceremonies and be given that privilege, Australia Day is the day, the first day that you must be handing them out".

ALGA has responded to the Federal Government's strong commitment to change the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code with calls for it to show an equally strong commitment to assist councils with issues - such as cost - that may come with holding the ceremonies on Australia Day. Well, you don't have to run citizenship ceremonies.

"I think most people are excited to become Australian citizens and what better day to do that than on Australia Day", she told reporters in Sydney.

"However, most councils hold more than one citizenship ceremony a year, some as often as monthly". But there are a range of remaining items that have been outstanding on the legislative agenda for this year and we're just going to make sure we take them through.