Today I had the great pleasure of hosting citizenship ceremonies for 334 new Australians from 49 countries of birth.
This is the tenth year, as Lord Mayor, that I have been hosting Citizenship ceremonies and in that time I have welcomed over 18,300 new Australians in 237 ceremonies.
Our country has been enriched immeasurably by these new citizens from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Sydney's diversity is one of its greatest strengths and we value its rich mix of people and cultures.
When you make the decision to become a citizen, you decide to become part of a new, adopted nation. This is a big step, regardless of how long you have been living in Australia.
The ceremony included a presentation of certificates and official photo, followed by an afternoon tea of Australian fare - with Lamingtons, Pavlovas and ANZAC biscuits for our new Aussies.
But of course, citizenship is more than certificates and Lamingtons. It's about conferring rights and accepting responsibilities. At these ceremonies I'm always proud to hand our newest citizens with an Electoral Enrolment Form. Participating in our democracy is an important civic duty - one that is not available or executed so safely and openly the world over. It is a right and a privilege we should not take lightly. Today I urged all our new Australians to use it responsibly and to keep informed about issues that affect this country.
Join me in welcoming our newest citizens to our great city!