SPECIAL DAY: Amy Fitzhenry with kids Isla and Callum Kelly congratulating her partner Colin Kelly on his citizenship ceremony in Ballina back in 2017.
SPECIAL DAY: Amy Fitzhenry with kids Isla and Callum Kelly congratulating her partner Colin Kelly on his citizenship ceremony in Ballina back in 2017.

Citizenship ceremonies go online

BALLINA Shire Council is working towards performing its first ever virtual citizenship ceremony on Tuesday, June 9.

A spokesperson confirmed the decision on Wednesday.

“Ballina Shire Council will commence conducting online citizenship ceremonies from June 9 and people that were scheduled to attend in April will be contacted by a staff member to see if they wish to participate in the online ceremony,” the spokesperson said.

It is unclear how many people would participate in the ceremony yet.

Ballina Shire Council had already cancelled a regular citizenship ceremony, originally set for that same date.

Normally, once an application has been assessed and approved, a Certificate of Australian Citizenship is sent by the Federal Government to council ready for the Citizenship Ceremony.

Council’s citizenship ceremonies are held on the second Tuesday of even numbered months at 11am (except for December, Australia Day and Australian Citizenship Day on 17 September).

According to the Department of Home Affairs spokesperson, those who have had their citizenship ceremony postponed because of COVID-19 will be offered another opportunity to take the Australian citizenship pledge, either through an online citizenship ceremony or – once COVID-19 restrictions are eased – at an in-person ceremony.

“As at May 22, there were 62 people whose applications have been approved and who have Ballina Shire Council as their preferred ceremony location”.

51 people acquired Australian citizenship at ceremonies held by Ballina Shire Council during 2020, and 106 in 2019.

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 requires a person to make a Pledge of Commitment to Australia before a presiding officer.

Within a regular calendar or ceremonies, future citizenship events would be scheduled in Ballina for August 11, September 17 (Australian Citizenship Day), and October 13.

There are currently 85,000 people awaiting a ceremony across the country.