Australia's newest citizens

Australia's newest citizens

24 Jan 2011

La Trobe University's Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson and his family will become Australian citizens on Australia Day.

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Transcript

Paul:

Becoming an Australian citizen is part of our commitment to Australia, just as Australia, through the university, has made a great commitment to us.

It's been through the job here that we've been able to move here to build a new life and we're absolutely committed to Australia, it creates huge opportunities for us. As it does, of course, for thousands of new arrivals every year.

We have a great life in Melbourne. Great for us, and for our children. I work at a fantastic university which really is full of so much potential. In some way it's potential that sums up Australia for me, in terms of work, but in terms of our life and particularly for our children, growing up here, the quality of life here is wonderful.

Susannah:

People are so friendly here, I think it's a much easier country to move into then I assume it is for many families to move into the UK, into London. There's an openness and a willingness of so many people to help, to share information with you, to say 'have you tried this, have you been there, this is a good place to go, this is a good thing to do.'

Paul:

The fact that it is a much more open society, a much more generous society in many respects, I think it's much more a case of you're judged here according to how you are and what you do, not according to what your parents have done, what your grandparents did, the family history.

What Australia is doing to change us is to maybe make us more relaxed, to some extent to change some of our views about what matters. When you emigrate as we have done with most of our relatively small families on both sides back in the UK it focuses our attention on the value of each other and of our family. You really appreciate family, and I suppose that's a common Australian story.

Susannah:

There's a difference in terms of how family and friends even relate to one another here, the social functions. The 'bring a plate'. We're going to have a barbecue to celebrate having got our citizenship, and slightly complicated because we'll be all morning at the ceremony, but everyone says go ahead, have a barbecue, we'll bring a plate, we're bringing desert, we'll bring a salad. It's just overwhelmingly friendly and open and supportive, I think.

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