I was reading Kim’s post on Becoming an Australian and her own immigration experiences.
Coming from Northern Ireland in 1972, my own immigration experience was quite a privileged and largely positive one. I come from an English-speaking background, my father was sponsored by the Victorian Education Department as a maths teacher and received a lot of support from his fellow teachers and from the Irish community established in Geelong.
I was naturalised in 1986, before I could vote, and being a minor, I was placed on my dad’s certificate. Becoming Australian citizens was more of a conscious decision on my parent’s part than mine. Their rationale was we had lived here for 14 years and it was our home. Having an Australian passport would also make it easier to enter back into Australia. The certificate has made its way to me, owing to the fact that it is actually used for a range of reasons including
- changing my details on the electoral roll, and I have moved a lot in the last 10 years (my parents have been in the same house for the past 25 years)
- obtaining benefits from Centrelink for the little BGs
- obtaining a passport
Its actual use makes me reflect over and againabout what it means to be a citizen
I can vote, and have a say in the democratic process. I am one of those people that get ridiculously happy on an election day. I don’t mind standing in a queue, particularly if there is a sausage sizzle nearby…
I live in a country which has a strong ethic to helping the more vulnerable members of our society through a well-developed welfare system and a public health system which is amongst the best in the world. Both little BGs were born in a public hospital, and the midwives were fantastic.
I live in a country that is free from political instability and which has a firm commitment to the rule of law.
I didn’t actively make the choice to become an Aussie, but I’m glad my parents made the decsion for me on my behalf- yet another example of them being right!