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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Advance Australia Fair

in: Randwick New South Wales 2031, Australia
On 11 March we became Australian citizens. Which means we never have to leave!

The ceremony itself was a rather peculiar affair which reminded me a little of my graduation. It was one of those peculiarities of local government that's obviously a regular and not insignificant event but which has to somehow stay fresh for the regular participants and might occasionally struggle a little to do so. Migration is a serious contributor to Australia's population and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics consistently exceeds natural growth so these ceremonies must be pretty frequent.

The mayor of Randwick presented the certificates and  another councilor acted as MC. There were various community members there to represent wider society including quite a few (elderly) former servicemen. For what could be quite a stuffy and tedious affair it was handled quite well and was quite touching in it's earnest sincerity - which I should have expected - formal without being stuffy.

When you arrive at the ceremony you have to go and put your name on the electoral roll (sensibly, voting is compulsory here) and are directed to your seat, on which rests a bag of goodies. It contains:
  • A welcome note from your new federal MP
  • An information leaflet from the Australian electoral commission and,
A cue card with your citizenship pledge on it




A cue card with the national anthem on it (verse 2 shown)

A folder with details of Australia's national symbols
This folder contains a booklet solely devoted to the many Australian flags, the commonwealth coat of arms, the national colours, the floral emblem, and

A leaflet about, and an arrangement of the National Anthem
The pack also contains

A DVD of 4 arrangements of the national anthem and a CD of  9 arrangements of the same
You can order these from the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet if you would like them. Sadly I have not yet watched them or listened to them however as I now have 15 different versions of the anthem  I'm sure I could lend you one or two if you're careful with them. As Advance Australia Fair is clearly a thing to be shared as widely as possible I have put two more versions below. The first is directly streamed from the downloads section of the It's an Honour website linked to above.



The next is a bit more in line with what I do for a living and is employees of the section of the NSW government that deals with disability issues learning to sign the national anthem.


On Saturday we voted in this country for the first time. A slightly different experience than voting in the UK due to the use of proportional representation and the fact that, because voting is compulsory there are actually people there voting! One of the ballot papers was bigger than an A3 size piece of paper due to the need to list all the parties and seemingly every member of electable age. This is slightly baffling to a newbie who may, after 6 years of living here, be decently acquainted with the main parties and their general policy direction but is probably not too familiar with the individual personalities involved in a constituency they only moved to 4 months earlier and was only registered to vote in 2 weeks before (what I should have done, especially as an eLearning Manager is gone to the NSW electoral commission website and looked through the resources there which would have told me a bit more in any case).

As there were many Australians gathered together in one place you either have to organise a sausage sizzle or one will spontaneously break out. The school serving as a polling station had very sensibly organised one so I did my second civic duty of the day and bought a sausage sandwich in aid of the school.