Multicultural Affairs Minister Stirling today congratulated 24 people from nine nations, including 13 from Bhutan, on becoming new Australians at a citizenship ceremony in Cairns.
Mr Hinchliffe said the ceremony organised by the Australian Bhutanese Sports Council was a wonderful example of Queensland’s welcoming attitude.
“I congratulate our local Queenslanders of Bhutanese heritage for hosting this event and making these new Australians feel so welcome,” he said.
“Queensland is welcoming place and today in Cairns we’ve seen people from a variety of cultural backgrounds including Bhutan, India, New Zealand, Serbia, Nepal, South Korea, Hungary and the United Kingdom become Aussies.
“It’s also great that Bhutanese Cricket League players from Cairns, Townsville, Adelaide, Albury, Tasmania, and Melbourne were here to witness today’s citizenship ceremony.
“Playing cricket is such a great Aussie tradition and it’s fitting that the Bhutanese Cricket League got involved with an Australian citizenship ceremony.
“I want to wish those who become Australian citizens today, and their families, all the very best.”
Mr Hinchliffe said it had been a long road for the Bhutanese Australians seeking a safe place to live.
“Many were born in refugee camps in Nepal in the 1990s when their families fled from persecution in their own country,” he said.
Parsu Sharma-Luital JP, the inaugural New Australian of the year in 2014, said Citizenship is a blessing for Bhutanese people as it confirms their identity as Australian.
“For our people who spent more than 20 stateless years in refugee camps, it is a sense of pride to call Australia home. Thank you, Australia and its people,” Mr Sharm-Luital said.