Terry Fewtrell's speech for use at Citizenship Ceremonies
held around 1 September - National Wattle Day
"There are basically two words that I want especially to say to you today:
Congratulations and Welcome.
Congratulations on becoming citizens of Australia and welcome to the Australian family.
But I also want to point out to you how extraordinarily fortunate you are to become Australian Citizens at wattle time. Wattle is Australia’s national flower, our national floral emblem. Each year on 1 September we celebrate National Wattle Day, as Wattle is a symbol of our nation and National Wattle Day symbolises the unity of all Australians and our land.
Wattle is the blaze of golden colour that lights up our land each year at this time. The colours of our nation, Green and Gold, come from the green leaves and golden blooms of the Acacia pycnantha, one of more than a 1000 varieties of wattles that flower at all times of the year across our land, but especially at this time. And by becoming citizens of Australia at Wattle time, you will be reminded each year of this day and your commitment to your new home, Australia.
Wattle has been the great witness to the whole of the Australian story. It has been in our land for more than 35 million years. So Wattle has welcomed us all, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, colonials, post war migrants. And it has waited till today to welcome you to this land and the peoples of Australia.
The many varieties of Wattle are like the many different types of backgrounds that make up our Australian community and are represented here among you today. Wattle is as diverse as are your backgrounds and heritage and yet wattle is the symbol that binds us together as Australians and citizens of this land.
Throughout those 35 million years that wattle has been in our land it has taught us two things – Resilience and Adaption.
Each year Wattle can remind you of the time you became Australians and of those qualities of Resilience and Adaption –qualities to which, as individuals and as a nation, we should aspire.
As you make your way in this new land and play your part in the Australian story, remember that adaption and resilience. Remember that even if things may be tough at times, you have within you the strength to prevail and blossom in this new land. Let the Wattle each year remind you of these things and draw strength from it.
So on behalf of my fellow Australians, congratulations and welcome to the Australian community during this week of the Wattle.
May your fortunes blossom like the golden blooms of our Wattle. And may you always remember, reflect and rejoice each year at wattle time, on this day and your commitment to becoming Australian citizens.
Congratulations and Welcome.
Terry Fewtrell (President of the Wattle Day Association) with new citizens in 2013