Blue ribbon Claremont caught by PM’s citizenship ceremony demand

Stock image.
Stock image.

CLAREMONT Council has never awarded citizenships on Australia Day but the mayor says it can accommodate Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s demand they be conducted on the national day.

On the weekend, Mr Morrison proposed councils be forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 from 2020.

However, 11,000-resident Claremont, in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Curtin, instead holds two or three ceremonies of up to 20 people at other times of the year.

Mr Barker said the town only awarded citizenships when there was enough demand, and the last ceremony was in October.

He said there were other, more urgent times for citizenships for some voters.

“What they are forgetting in Federal Government is the number of times I’m called in to approve citizenship for a passport for someone who needs it immediately to travel, or something,” Mr he said.

Mr Barker backed retaining Australia Day’s usual role in the face of “political correctness”, after some mayors changed the dates of their councils’ celebrations to acknowledge Aboriginal people’s opposition to a national day on the same date as the arrival of the First Fleet of British colonists in Sydney in 1788.

Mr Barker said his council would not have difficulty with having a January 26 ceremony, but voters with needs for citizenships at other times of the year could be “caught out” if the date was exclusive.

Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove, Subiaco and Cambridge councils already host citizenship ceremonies on January 26, but the City of Nedlands would have to schedule one from 2020.