Shire holds citizenship ceremonies via Zoom
THE Surf Coast Shire council has held their first online Australian citizenship ceremonies over Zoom.
Each of the eight prospective citizens met individually online last week with Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge and chief executive officer Keith Baillie to say the pledge and formalise their decision.
Cr Hodge said she was glad people were no longer having to postpone becoming Australian citizens.
“I am pleased that we can give people the option of having their citizenship ceremony conducted online so that they don’t have to delay achieving this significant milestone.
“As mayor, welcoming our new citizens is one of my favourite tasks. While it’s sad to miss welcoming people face-to-face, it’s still really lovely – and a great privilege – to conduct the online ceremony.”
Sara Murphy was one of the Surf Coast locals to become an Australian citizen through the online ceremonies.
Formerly from Poland, Ms Murphy moved to Australia with her husband, Karl, more than six years ago, eventually settling on the Surf Coast.
Ms Murphy said she was pleased to have the process finalised.
“My application was approved in December, so I have been waiting for the ceremony. Then I got an email from to see if I wanted to participate in an online ceremony rather than wait, so I said ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’”
The following week, Ms Murphy joined the ceremony through Zoom and became an Australian citizen.
“It was really good. It was a little under 10 minutes. First I was talking to the executive assistant and she just confirmed my identity, then she let me into the ceremony.
“So, the mayor was there and the CEO. They said ‘Hello and congratulations’ and I repeated the pledge after the mayor and then they wished me a very happy life in Australia and on the Surf Coast, and that was it.”
She said there were many reasons she chose to become a citizen.
“It’s important to me that I can vote, and have full rights, and have the Australian passport as well. My son was born here and is also an Australian citizen, so both my husband and my son are Australian citizens and I wanted to join them.”
The shire will be welcoming more citizens via teleconference on Wednesday, July 8.