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Media Release: Australian citizenship – the important benefits

13 September 20130 comments

Settlement agency AMES is urging all eligible migrants to take up Australian citizenship to be able to enjoy all the benefits of living in a free democratic society.

This week more than 12,400 migrants and refugees who have arrived in Australia recently from 145 countries will become citizens on Australian Citizenship Day, September 17.

“Citizenship is an important step in anyone’s migration story and it comes with important rights and responsibilities,” said AMES CEO Cath Scarth.

“Becoming a citizen means that people get to share in the privileges that come with full participation in the national life while making an ongoing commitment to Australia and its values and traditions,” Ms Scarth said.

“Australia is a nation built by the contributions of our indigenous people and those who came later from all parts of the globe. We should celebrate this diversity while ensuring that everyone gets to participate in a cohesive society.”

Ms Scarth said it was important that new citizens understood their rights and responsibilities.

“It is important that new citizens understand that they have an obligation, for instance, to vote in federal and state elections or that they may be called to serve on a jury – or defend the country should the need arise,” Ms Scarth said.

“But, it is equally important that they understand that they enjoy the privileges and protections that come with living in a democracy – such as the rule of law, freedom of speech, association and religion; and equality in terms of things such as gender and opportunity,” she said

Ms Scarth said AMES saw many new arrivals to Australia who had not enjoyed these rights and privileges in their home countries.

“Often they arrive here with a fear of authority, or having been persecuted because of their religion or their ethnicity,” she said.

“So, it’s very important, if these people are going to settle successfully into Australia, that they understand that they have these rights and that they are protected by the laws of the country.”

One of the key services AMES provides is English language tuition for newly arrived refugees and migrants which includes discussion of Australian culture, history and institutions.

For images, interviews and more information please contact AMES Media Advisor, Laurie Nowell at or 9938 46031 or 0498 196 500.