Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP, today extends a warm welcome to Bendigo’s newest citizens.
Ms Chesters said she was very proud that since the start of 2015 67 new citizens have chosen to make Bendigo their home.
“We have a rich migrant history and our region has benefitted enormously from the many different people and cultural groups who have chosen to settle here.
“Our newest Australians come from places as far flung as the UK, Europe, China, Thailand, India and Myanmar.
“At the ceremony tonight they will pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people; to share our democratic beliefs, respect our values and liberties, and uphold our laws. And in return, we welcome them as the newest faces of Australia, and respect their right to maintain and express their cultural identity.
“I was the first in my family to be born in Australia. Both my parents were born overseas and came to Australia with the promise of opportunity and a bright future.
“Their decision to follow in the footsteps of thousands of migrants meant my sisters and I have been lucky enough to grow up in a country rich with opportunity,” said Ms Chesters.
The new citizens will be welcomed tonight at the official citizenship ceremony at Bendigo Town Hall. Ms Chesters regretted that due to responsibilities in Parliament she was unable to attend but said she extended her warmest welcome to all those taking the pledge.
“I can still remember what a special day it was when my parents attended a similar ceremony. I’m sure this will be an occasion they too will remember for years to come.
“I encourage our newest citizens to tell the stories of their journey to this point so we can all share in and celebrate the vibrancy of our region. This is Bendigo.”