First naturalisation ceremony under 1948 Nationality and Citizenship Act

Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast

Title: First naturalisation ceremony under 1948 Nationality and Citizenship Act
Subtitle: Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast
Date: 3 February 1949
Keywords: migration, citizenship, civic responsibility, democracy
Record creator: Australian Broadcasting Commission, Head Office - Radio Archives
Reference: C102, 1557105

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Announcer: The Minister for Immigration gives an address on the purpose of the ceremony now. 

Arthur Calwell: Your honour, Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today for a ceremony which marks an important milestone in our history. In this hall within a few moments, a Czech, a Dane, a Spaniard, a Frenchman, a Yugoslav, a Norwegian and a Greek will take an oath of allegiance and receive their naturalisation certificates under the new Nationality and Citizenship Act, which became law on Australia Day, a few days ago. It was proclaimed law on that day because it seemed to us the most fitting day for such a declaration of such an important Act. This is the first time such a ceremony has been held, and it is important that on such an occasion we should pause for just a few moments to consider what it is we do. Seven men from seven different countries and with widely different cultural backgrounds intend of their own free choice to become Australian citizens, to assume Australian citizenship. They will adopt that common citizenship which we all hold now by virtue of that Act of Parliament. They have chosen to become fellow citizens with us, and with each other in a country, which they believe and which we believe is notable among the countries of the world for its democratic spirit and for its endeavours to give equal opportunity to all of its citizens, regardless of race or of class or of creed.

 It is not of course a new thing for the people of another country to become our fellow citizens. Ever since 1788 when the First Fleet landed the first immigrants on the shores of Port Jackson, this country has needed citizens from overseas. Indeed it would not be too much to say that what the scientists would call the mutations or the jump-forwards in our national evolution have been marked by an influx of new citizens or potential citizens. We have been able to offer them space for new developments, an atmosphere favourable to new ideas, a future free from preconceived notions or rigid hidebound conventions. In turn we have benefited from the originality of their minds, and the energy of all men and women eager to build a future for themselves in new surroundings. After 50 years, Australia ceased to be a collection of six different colonies and became a federal Commonwealth, a new nation. From the beginning of our nationhood, we have made it possible for newcomers from countries outside the British Commonwealth of nations to adopt our common British nationality. Now we propose to share with them our latest acquired status of Australian citizenship in addition to our proud status as British subjects.

We are very glad to see these young men here today, but we have no intention of allowing this ceremony to dwindle into a formal gesture or to swell into an occasion of national bombast. We ask our new citizens to respect the Australian flag and swear allegiance to our concepts of government. We do so not because we want to regiment convenient cannon-fodder for another war, but because we know from long experience that the democratic concepts we cherish are for adaptable and usable means for achieving social change and national progress without dangerous social dislocation or the chaotic spectacle of revolutionary disturbances ending in dictatorial minority rule. We pledge our faith in the commonsense and the national goodwill of the Australian people. We ask our new citizens to swear allegiance to the system of government which enables that good will and common sense to guide democratically elected rulers, and we do not propose to risk the very real gains we have made through democratic evolution for want of vigilance towards our enemies, whether they come from outside or work from inside.

And in conclusion, I wish to introduce the first of our new Australians under the Nationality and Citizenship Act, and I wish them health, wealth and happiness in a country where there is a job of work and a protected future for old and new citizens alike. I have very much pleasure, your honour, in introducing to you the first of our new citizens to take the oath of allegiance. I ask Mr Jan [Jandura–]Pucek to step forward and take the oath.


Supreme Court Justice William Simpson: Repeat after me the renunciation. I, and then your name.

Jan Jandura-Pucek: I, Jan Jandura-Pucek

Simpson: Swear by almighty God

Pucek: Swear almighty God

Simpson: That I will … I'm sorry. I, and then your name.

Pucek: I, Jan Jandura-Pucek

Simpson: Renounce my Czechoslovakian nationality

Pucek: Renounce my Czechoslovakian nationality

Simpson: And my allegiance to the republic of Czechoslovakia

Pucek: And my allegiance to republic Czechoslovakia

Simpson: Now we take the Bible [inaudible], please. I …

Pucek: I, Jan Jandura-Pucek

Simpson: Swear by almighty God

Pucek: Swear almighty God

Simpson: That I will be faithful

Pucek: I would …

Simpson: I will be faithful

Pucek: I will be faithful

Simpson: And bear true allegiance

Pucek: And bear true allegiance

Simpson: To His Majesty

Pucek: To His Majesty

Simpson: King George VI

Pucek: King George VI

Simpson: His heirs and successors

Pucek: His heirs and successors

Simpson: According to law

Pucek: According to law

Simpson: And that I will faithfully observe

Pucek: I will be faithfully observe

Simpson: The laws of Australia

Pucek: Laws in Australia

Simpson: And fulfil my duties

Pucek: Fulfil my duties

Simpson: As an Australian citizen

Pucek: As an Australian citizen

Simpson: And here, sir, is your certificate of naturalisation.