New citizens welcomed

RELATED: Locals fly the flag with pride     Australia Day in pictures

WELLINGTON Shire has welcomed 21 new Australian citizens.

In the Australia Day Ceremony in Sale, mayor Scott Rossetti received their pledges of allegiance and welcomed each of them as citizens who enjoy the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.

Victoria’s Deputy Premier Peter Ryan spoke at the Australia Day ceremony and said Australians were fortunate to have a democratic society.

“On September 7 last year, the government of Australia changed.

“Putting aside the politics, when you look at what’s happening in places like Egypt and Syria, where people are seeking to do as we were able to do on September 7 without a gun going off, not a bomb, no blood in the streets,” he said.

“We were able to cast a ballot and the government of Australia changed.

“I think it is something that we should treasure on a day such as this, the very fact that we can come together in this environment and be able to speak these sentiments and to be able to do it without any fear, without any favour, the fact of being able to do it at all, is something I think that we should hold dear within the Australian way of life.”

Mr Ryan said we also should reflect on the many nations people had come from.

“We have people from about 200 countries who have come to us and who comprise who we are, what we are and what we do,” he said.

“To get the mixture of languages, the mixture of cultures and backgrounds … it’s part of the origins of us and it’s part of the history of us, but it’s part of our future as well.

“It’s something that we should celebrate on this Australia Day.”