A Local council has been banned from holding a citizenship ceremony after the government intervened. The City of Fremantle council, in Perth, controversially decided to shift its usual Australia Day citizenship ceremonies from January 26 to two days later, citing Aboriginal cultural sensitivities.
But the Government has stepped in and said it can hold citizenship ceremonies on any day it wishes — except if that day is an alternative to Australia Day.
Assistant immigration minister Alex Hawke said holding citizenship ceremonies on January 28 would give an anti-Australia Day message.
“Citizenship has got to be apolitical, non-commercial, bipartisan and secular,” Mr Hawke told ABC radio on Monday.
“It’s really important … we’ve got hundreds of councils administering this around the country … that they don’t get the idea they can use citizenship as a political football.
“We’re very dark on that.”
Mr Hawke said the government was trying to resolve the matter with the council.
“We’re trying to work this out,” he said.
“We’re being reasonable.
“We don’t want this to escalate into a major political situation and would prefer that they did take up the Commonwealth on one of the offers.”
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt confirmed he had received correspondence from the Federal Government and would comment later on Monday.
He said last week he didn’t expect the council’s decision would cause such a fuss.
Online Source: News.com.au.