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Locals sign up for citizenship

31 Jan 2019

Locals sign up for citizenship Image

Two locals became Australian citizens at a ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall on January 26.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp naturalised more than 100 new citizens from 34 nations at the Australia Day ceremony. Docklanders Lauren Douglas and Petra Harmer-Shrowder were among them.

Lauren, 32, of North Wharf, was a New Zealander and has been living at Flinders Wharf for the past four years.

Lauren said Australia had always welcomed immigrants and had benefitted from the richness such diversity contributed.

“As a New Zealander, I have the right to live and work here but I firmly believe that if you regard yourself as a permanent resident, you should be serious about contributing in other ways and be able to influence the direction of the country by having the right to vote, and therefore be part of the culture and take some responsibility for it,” Lauren told Docklands News.

“I love living in Docklands. It is so close to the many eateries, retail shopping and public transport. Being close to the river and harbour is also a wonderful attraction which means you can step out of your apartment and, in minutes, be surrounded by water, greenery and fresh air.”

Petra, 55, has been living with Australian husband Brian at Yarra’s Edge for the past four years.

The Englishwoman said she “absolutely adored” Docklands and the couple had recently bought into the tower where they had been leasing.

“I feel very much at home in Australia. It’s such a beautiful country,” she said. “It had always been in our master plan to retire here.”

“I want to be able to vote and I want to be a little more involved in the country I live in.”

“Since arriving in Australia I have found the Australian people very warm, welcoming and inclusive and likes to learn more about the aboriginal heritage and culture.”

“Having lived previously in the Middle East for 20 years it is wonderful to see such inclusiveness in a multi-cultural society,” Petra said.

Unfortunately, the timing of the citizenship was challenging, with Brian being recently admitted to hospital.

He was able to attend the ceremony but Petra was compelled to cancel a party with 40 guests to celebrate her new citizenship.

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