Australian Pride: New citizens affirm their commitment to our nation

New life: "This is the country for my kids and my grandkids. Now it's my country, too," Iveta Bogmale said. Picture: John Veage

New life: "This is the country for my kids and my grandkids. Now it's my country, too," Iveta Bogmale said. Picture: John Veage

Salahaldeen Alashqar

Salahaldeen Alashqar

Sans Souci resident Iveta Bogmale will be one of 60 Bayside residents from 25 different countries taking citizenship on Australia Day.

Latvian-born Mrs Bogmale said taking Australian citizenship is an affirmation of her belief Australia is the best country for her children and grandchildren's future.

She moved here to follow her fiance, Igor.

"He came here before me. I visited him here a couple of times and one day I realised I would move here to live," she said.

They married in Australia and raised their family.

"My husband loves this country. The Australian lifestyle suits him very well," she said.

"You can wear shorts and thongs all year. It gets very cold in Latvia.

"I changed my life when I came here. It's not easy when you don't have the language or friends. I learned English here, did some volunteer work and trained as a care worker. With this job, I feel part of community life.

"I think for family life it is the best place to live.

"I am very happy here. This country is the country for my kids and my grandkids. Now it's my country, too."

Monterey resident Salahaldeen Alashqar, 34, will also become an Australian citizen on Australia Day.

Mr Alashqur arrived here from Jordan on January 25, 2016.

"I came here for better opportunities in life," Mr Alashqar said.

"I heard about the economic system and quality of life in Australia," he said.

"I had the choice of going to the United States, Canada or Australia. It was a big choice.

"I think the United States has lost its glamour for me. For immigrants there, it is getting harder. And I didn't like the idea of the cold weather in Canada.

"I'm glad I chose Australia.

"It has been the best decision."

"I moved here by myself and left my Mum and Dad, brothers and sisters back in Jordan.

"Since moving here, I have started my own eCommerce business, Mr Alashqar said.

"I like the diversity in Australia. There is the feeling you are included in the community.

"Everyone is welcome here. That is a big win for me.

"Taking citizenship is a special moment.

"I decided to early to become a permanent resident. I knew from day one that I wanted to spend my life in Australia."

Bayside Council will host its citizenship ceremony at the new Arncliffe Youth Centre.

At the ceremony, participants will swear the Oath of Allegiance pledging their loyalty to Australia and its people, democratic beliefs, rights, liberties and laws.

They will be presented with citizenship certificates by Bayside mayor, Councillor Joe Awada.

The ceremony will be an invitation-only event due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The council will also announce its Citizen of the Year recipients at the ceremony.

Georges River Council is hosting two citizenship ceremonies and the Australia Day Awards in the Marana Auditorium in Hurstville in lieu of our traditional Australia Day Awards and Festival at Carss Bush Park.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the ceremonies are not for the general public but invited guests only.

The council will also announce its Citizen of the Year recipients.