Loading
pop-up content starts
pop-up content ends

Celebrating citizenship

​​​​​​​​​Australian Citizenship Day, 17 September

We celebrate Australian Citizenship Day each year on 17 September.

17 September 2021 holds even greater significance as it marks the 20th anniversary of Australian Citizenship Day.

The day is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on:

  • the meaning and importance of Australian citizenship
  • responsibilities and privileges we have as citizens.

Whether we are citizens through birth or by active choice, it is a chance for all Australians to:

  • take pride in our citizenship
  • celebrate our democratic values
  • think about what unites us as Australians.

Every year on this day, Australia welcomes thousands of new citizens in local communities across the nation.​

History of Australian Citizenship Day

Australian Citizenship Day was first celebrated in 2001.

The Australian Government established the day in 2001 in response to a recommendation by the Australian Citizenship Council in their 2000 report Australian Citizenship for a New Century.

The recommendation came from a proposal of the 1999 National Schools Constitutional Convention that a citizenship day be established to allow all Australians to celebrate their Australian citizenship.

17 September was chosen as Australian Citizenship Day as it is the anniversary of the renaming, in 1973, of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 to the Australian Citizenship Act 1948. ​

Celebrating Australian Citizenship Day

Since 2001, the Department and local councils promote this day by holding:

  • special citizenship ceremonies
  • affirmation ceremonies
  • other events around the country.​

Schools, organisations and community groups are also encouraged to organise special events and activities.

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. Since 1949, we have welcomed over five million new citizens to our shores.

Our Australian citizenship is the common bond which unites us all.

Through our Australian citizenship, we have a commitment to respect and uphold the values of Australian society which are: ​​

  • respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual;
  • freedom of religion (including the freedom not to follow a particular religion), freedom of speech and freedom of association;
  • commitment to the rule of law, which means that all people are subject to the law and should obey it;
  • parliamentary democracy whereby our laws are determined by parliaments elected by the people, those laws being paramount and overriding any other inconsistent religious or secular “laws”;
  • equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, race or national or ethnic origin;
  • a ‘fair go’ for all that embraces:
    • mutual respect;
    • tolerance;
    • compassion for those in need;
    • equality of opportunity for all;
  • the English language as the national language, and as an important unifying element of Australian society.

Celebrating Australian Citizenship video clip

Eddie Woo: Hey guys it’s me, Eddie! Remember? Eddie Woo. That maths teacher guy! If you’ve got a sec I wanted to talk to you about Australian citizenship. But before I do, just wanted to loop in some of my friends. Just, hold on.

Nip Wijewickrema: Australian citizenship means a lot to me. It means diversity. It means inclusion. And of course it means acceptance.

Virginia Haussegger: For me citizenship means being part of a big, growing multicultural team. That values men and women equally and respects our difference.

Dion Devow: What being an Australian citizen means to me is that you are now living in a country that is home to the oldest surviving cultures in the world.

Eddie Woo: To me, being Australian is about having the courage to give things a go. And also, to be inclusive and give everyone a go.

Jackie French: What does it mean to be Australian? Care for each other. Care for our children.

Rosie Batty: Being Australian, to me, is about respecting each other no matter who you are or where you’ve come from.

Virginia Haussegger: Australians believe in equality, fairness and freedom. And, we also like to have fun.

Nip Wijewickrema: The values that Australians share is the fact that we are all the same. There is no race – as I say – apart from the human race.

Dion Devow: Australia is enriched by new citizens. By the fact that they bring new meaning, new culture, and a new element to what we call being an Australian in contemporary Australian society

Virginia Haussegger: With every new citizen our beautiful, rich diversity grows even bigger.

Jackie French: There is nothing more wonderful than watching the children of Australia from so many different backgrounds dreaming of what their future is going to be.

Nip Wijewickrema: My message to all our new Australians is to soak it up. We are in a beautiful country that has so much privilege.

Dion Devow: And learn all you can about the richness of all Indigenous Australian cultures.

Virginia Haussegger: Show respect and care for all Aussies.

Jackie French: Give to our children so they can create the new Australia

Rosie Batty: Explore this vast and beautiful country and be adventurous.

Nip Wijewickrema: Let’s use Australian citizenship to show the world we’re united.

Eddie Woo: Wow guys! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Australian citizenship: it really is amazing! Talk to you guys soon. Bye!

 

 

Citizenship school resources

Explore Australian citizenship in the classroom with the resources provided for both primary and secondary students.

Encourage your students to think about what it means to be Australian citizens and prepare welcome messages for new citizens in your local area.

Classroom resources can be found on the Celebrating Australian Citizenship in Schools webpage.

Ordering products

There are a number of citizenship promotional products available to either download or order online for your personal use or as a ceremony organiser.

If you wish to order citizenship products, please go to the Ordering Citizenship Products page.