Maribyrnong will no longer host Citizenship Ceremonies on 26 January

Published on 14 September 2023

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The City of Maribyrnong will no longer be hosting Citizenship Ceremonies on 26 January.

In line with recent changes to the Federal Government’s Australian Citizenship Ceremony Code, Council will instead host its January Citizenship Ceremonies on one of the three days either side.

The decision recognises the national holiday is for many First Nations communities a day of reflection, mourning and loss and follows a broad ranging engagement with our community throughout 2021 and 2022 on how 26 January should be acknowledged going forward.

Mayor, Cr Sarah Carter described the decision as a significant milestone to foster a further sense of respect for the experiences and wishes of First Nations Peoples.

“Discontinuing Citizenship Ceremonies on 26 January is an important step in acknowledging this difficult time for First Nations Peoples.

“It acknowledges the truth telling process being undertaken by the Victorian Government and also demonstrates to our First Nations community and broader community that Council is highly in support of reconciliation and recognising First Nations Australian history,” she said.

Council had also written to the Prime Minister and a number of other ministers advocating for the requirement to hold Citizenship Ceremonies on 26 January be removed from the Code to allow councils to choose whether to continue to hold ceremonies on that day.

Broad ranging engagement throughout 2021 and 2022, included a deliberative consultation process with First Nations communities, the culturally diverse community, and community more broadly. Those who participated had a clear preference that Council reconsider holding ceremonies on 26 January.

Following this, for the first time this year, Council formally acknowledged 26 January as a day of mourning with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony as part of the 2023 Citizenship Ceremony on 26 January, which will be the last hosted on that day.

The Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags will continue to be lowered to half-mast as a symbol of the grief and loss the day represents for many First Nations people.

Because Council recognises this is about more than one day, Mayor Carter said Council also remains committed to continuing to engage, educate and inform the Maribyrnong Community around wider issues.

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