ACT Brumbies super rugby players Ruan-Henry and Jean-Pierre Smith are among the 117 people from 46 countries to become Australian citizens today.
Originally from South Africa, the Brumbies twin brothers decided it was time to kick their final goal in their citizenship journey after seven years in Australia.
“We’re both excited to make it official today by becoming Australian citizens, “Jean Pierre said.
“This land has become our home and we have achieved things here that wouldn’t be possible in other countries. We are proud Australians.”
Like his brother, Ruan-Henry was also pleased to make his citizenship official.
“I’ve been lucky enough to represent Australia at schoolboys rugby level so I’ve felt Aussie for many years already,” Ruan-Henry said.
“But making it official is special. This is something we have both been looking forward to for many years. We are both focussed on making positive contributions to Australia through sport, our local Canberra community and in representing our region throughout the world.”
A performance by the Australian Rugby Choir will be followed by Brumbies captain, Steve Moore, leading the Australian citizenship affirmation.
“Like the Smith boys, I wasn’t born in Australia but my family and I have been lucky enough to make successful lives here,” Moore said.
The ceremony is also timed to mark Harmony Day, which is celebrated each year on March 21 to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
DIBP Deputy Secretary Visa and Citizenship Services, Michael Manthorpe said Harmony Day provides an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the rich cultures which make Australia such a fantastic place to live. Australian Citizenship ties in perfectly to the theme of a united and diverse society.
“Australian Citizenship marks the final step in a person’s migration journey and we look forward to welcoming these newest citizens into our community,” Mr Manthorpe said.
“With one in four Australian citizens born overseas, it is fitting to host Australian Citizenship ceremonies during Harmony Day celebrations.”
The celebrations are not stopping today either, with another ceremony scheduled on March 27 at Telopea Park School with almost 130 people becoming citizens. The two ceremonies will be among the largest ever seen in the ACT.
Source: http://www.newsroom.immi.gov.au/releases/act-brumbies-welcome-new-citizens Photo source: Getty Images, Zimbio.com, Brumbies