Mick Bennett unfazed by Scott Morrison’s citizenship ceremony comments

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Mick Bennett
Camera IconMick Bennett Credit: Aaron Corlett

Dardanup shire president Mick Bennett is unfazed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s latest move to force councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

He said the council always looked to hold ceremonies on Australia Day and at other regular intervals throughout the year as required.

“We’ll be doing some this year on Australia Day, but generally we hold ceremonies every eight weeks on average,” he said.

“On average, we’d be welcoming eight new citizens every ceremony.

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“That is just to suit the people — if you’ve been waiting seven years, you just want to get it over with.”

He said the council would wait to accumulate at least half a dozen people before holding ceremonies.

“We’re happy to do them all through the year but generally we ask at this time of the year that we would like them to have it on Australia Day in front of the general public,” he said.

Cr Bennett also responded to the Prime Minister’s suggestions that the ceremonies should require a dress code. “Most of the people I do the ceremonies are dressed for the occasion,” he said.

“I think that’s the way it probably should be and that stuff you hear about T-shirt and board shorts is rubbish.

“I think people take their Australian citizenship very seriously because of what they had to go through to get it.”

A handful of other councils around the Australia have opted not to host Australia Day ceremonies in recent years because of the perceived controversial nature of the date.

Cr Bennett said it was not something that had entered into serious consideration at Dardanup.

“It has been raised by a suggestion by a couple of people, but it has only ever been that and it has never gone anywhere,” he said.

“I’m not interested in entertaining it — as far as I’m concerned Australia Day has been Australia Day forever. We weren’t talking about changing it 50, 60 or 70 years ago, so why would we now?

“It seems pretty late in the course to be trying to change Australia.”

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