Happy to now call our country home

THE young and the old, from far and wide, came together to officially call Australia home in a special ceremony held as part of City of Canterbury Bankstown’s Australia Day celebrations.

The 23 new citizens, from 12 different countries, were welcomed by Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek and Australia Day Ambassador Bob Turner on the eve of Australia Day.
Among them were 82-year-old Hossein Chaichian, who fled from war-torn Iraq in 1981 to neighbouring Kuwait, finally settling in Australia with his children and grandchildren in 2018.
The Kingsgrove resident and retired accountant said all Australians should be proud of the peaceful and loving country we live in.
“We’re so lucky to be living in a multicultural country full of love and peace,” Mr Chaichian said.
“Everything is beautiful here.
“I’m happy to be with all my children in one place. I’m here, I’m home and I can find many dishes and cuisines I love.”
Mr Chaichian was joined by his son, daughter and grandson at the Citizenship Ceremony, who were very excited to see him officially become an Aussie.
The youngest to become a citizen on the evening was 18-year-old Minh Pham, who migrated to Australia from Vietnam with his family in 2019.
The Yagoona local has just graduated high school and has his sights set on studying to be an engineer.
“I want to give back to Australia through my study and my career, because Australia has given me so many opportunities,” Mr Pham said.
“Australia Day is a special day to appreciate all the opportunities this country affords us and to look forward into what we could be doing better.”
Mr Pham was joined by his proud parents and sister, who were overjoyed to stand alongside him as he took the oath.
Mayor El-Hayek said welcoming new citizens from far and wide is what Australia Day was all about.
“Whether you were born here, or settled here, being Australian is a privilege and should be celebrated,” he said.