Proud to be Aussies
“DIVERSITY and respect” were the two words that greeted the 27 new citizens at the Tweed Australia Day celebrations on Saturday. Hundreds packed the Tweed Civic Centre to witness the new citizens from New Zealand, England, Ireland, India and Thailand making the pledge of allegiance to make Australia and the Tweed their home. Bunjalung elder Aunty Kath welcomed the new citizens to “this beautiful country” with advice that being an Aussie was not just about waving a flag, having a barbecue, drinking beer and surfing. “It’s about learning the culture, the language and the way we live,” Aunty Kath said. Reverend Colin Tett stressed that Australia Day was a time to celebrate the different cultures and religions that we all bring, and how “we respect one another’s differences”. Inspiring the crowd was the Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador Sue-Ellen Lovett who, despite her visual impairment, has raised more than $3 million over 16 gruelling horse rides throughout Australia for a variety of charities. “Every day, work on making a difference, because it makes you feel so good,” Mrs Lovett’s told the crowd that rose to its feet after %being moved by her story of courage through adversity. The Minister for Ageing and Federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, the State member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, and the State member for Murwillumbah, Thomas George, offered a %welcome, and stressed that with citizenship came not just rights but responsibilities. “Australia Day unites us as we celebrate our past and our future while celebrating our diversity and unity,” Ms Elliot said. Mr Provest told the crowd that “we are all enriched and %enhanced and a helluva lot better off” by these newcomers joining us. Mr George, whose parents came from Lebanon, said he was “always grateful to my parents who gave me the opportunity to call Australia home”. Tweed Shire administrator Max Boyd led the new citizens through the formal ceremony that was the final step before the 27 gained full citizenship.