PERTH should take a leaf out of Stirling’s book and make its citizenship ceremonies a little more “personal” and welcoming, says councillor Lily Chen.
A guest at one of Stirling’s recent ceremonies, Cr Chen says she was was touched by how deputy mayor Keith Sargent built a rapport with the audience by sharing his family’s own migration story, while participants also got a chance to tell a little of their history.
Cr Chen says it’s important for officials to connect with new citizens to make them feel welcome.
The Chinese-born lawyer took out Australian citizenship 18 years ago and is married to a former refugee.
“Our own view is that apart from Indigenous Australians, all of us are migrants ourself …this is our view so therefore everyone has a story to tell,” Cr Chen says.
“At the City of Stirling each individual has their own opportunity to present their own story to the attendees.”
Megan McAnulty took her citizenship oath at Stirling and was impressed.
“To be honest when we went to the ceremony I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be bland, boring, ‘here’s your certificate’ kind of thing, but it was a really nice, friendly atmosphere … everyone who stood up gave their story and their own kind of family background,” Ms McAnulty says.
“Most things you sit there nervously, but it created a really casual atmosphere.”
Citizenship and multicultural interests minister Mike Nahan says WA is one of Australia’s most multicultural states.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM