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Councils ordered to mark citizenship on Australia Day

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Local councils will be forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 under new federal government rules.

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The move cements a push against dozens of councils that have cancelled Australia Day celebrations out of respect for indigenous people.

Councils will be stripped of their right to hold citizenship ceremonies if they refuse to comply.

“Australia Day is a chance for all Australians to celebrate our successful multicultural nation,” Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Friday.

“We want as many people as possible to receive the privilege of citizenship on January 26.”

The federal government will step in and hold ceremonies in council areas if they refuse.

“It’s just common sense,” Coleman said.

Councils will also have to create and enforce dress standards for citizenship ceremonies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously declared thongs and boardshorts are not appropriate, but the new code will not dictate standards.

National and cultural dress will still be permitted.

The Launceston City Council in northern Tasmania is the latest to scrap its Australia Day celebrations, voting to hold events on January 25 instead.

Very small councils in regional areas where there are few new citizens will be exempt from the new rules.

-AAP

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