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Own the Oath: A Guide to the Privileges and Responsibilities of Being Aussie

Australian citizenship is a badge of honour that brings with it a number of rewards and privileges. It represents a deeper, more significant tie to the nation’s complex tapestry of cultures, traditions, and history beyond the legal status it bestows upon an individual.  Australians view their citizenship as being invested and actively involved in the country’s trajectory as a prosperous and diverse entity and in the foundational values that guide it.

Becoming an Australian citizen marks the beginning of an individual’s formal membership into the Australian community. Along with it comes several roles, responsibilities, rights, and privileges.

Australian citizenship responsibilities entail fulfilling specific civic duties and obligations the Australian government outlines. It is about what an individual can do for Australia. These roles and responsibilities promote active participation, contribute to the well-being of the Australian community, and uphold the values that define the nation.

At the same time, the privileges of Australian citizenship refer to the rights, benefits, and advantages that individuals gain by becoming Australian citizens. These privileges recognise an individual’s commitment to the country and come with various merits and luxuries. The privileges of Australian citizenship are what Australia as a country does for its citizens.

What are the Ways to Become an Australian Citizen?
An individual can obtain Australian citizenship in the following ways:

  • By Birth
  • By Descent
  • By Conferral
  • By Adoption under any State or Territory Law

Citizenship by descent and conferral are the most common ways of applying for Australian citizenship.

What are the Responsibilities of an Australian Citizen?
As an Australian citizen, these are the responsibilities that an individual has:

  • Obeying the Laws of Australia – Obeying the laws of Australia is the fundamental responsibility of any Australian citizen and includes a commitment to the values of Australia’s democratic society. This responsibility also entails respecting the rights and freedoms of fellow citizens.

  • Voting in Federal and State or Territory Elections and a Referendum– This is one of the fundamental responsibilities of Australian citizenship. Voting in elections and referendums is a potent tool for citizens to actively participate in the democratic process and makeup of their nation. It also gives citizens a say in important decisions and crucial changes within the country.

  • Serving on Jury Duty if Required– The jury system is one of the cornerstones of the Australian legal system. When citizens serve on a jury, they actively uphold the principles of justice, further fostering a more profound sense of responsibility and civic duty towards the Australian nation.

  • Defending Australia if Needed- Although Australia has not implemented compulsory military service recently, defending the nation remains essential to Australian citizenship. Citizens may be called upon to serve and defend the country at times of national emergency or security threats.

What are the Privileges of an Australian Citizen?
As an Australian citizen, an individual has the following privileges and entitlements:

  • Apply for and Obtain an Australian Passport, Permitting Re-Entry into Australia Freely: Australian citizens can apply for an Australian passport, one of the most powerful passports in the world. Citizens can travel internationally with little to no restrictions and freely re-enter Australia without a visa. As an Australian citizen and passport holder, an individual can travel visa-free to over 180 countries worldwide.

  • Exercise Your Right to Vote in Federal, State or Territory Elections, and in Referendums- Participating in elections and referendums is an incredible privilege and an important responsibility for Australian citizens. In voicing their opinions and voting, Australian citizens shape the direction that the nation’s policies may take.

  • Secure Australian Citizenship by Descent for Children Born Overseas – Australian citizens whose children are born abroad can secure their children’s citizenship by descent. It not only helps to maintain a familial connection to Australia but also helps secure the future of Australian citizens.

  • Apply for a Job in the Australian Defence Force or Public Service – Australian citizens can pursue diverse career pathways, including defence and public service roles. Citizens interested in applying for jobs in the Defence Force and Public Sector significantly contribute to the governance and security of the nation.

  • Access Consular Assistance from Australian Officials When Overseas – Australian citizens also have access to seeking consular assistance from Australian officials even when overseas in times of emergency or need. They are given the necessary support and guidance, thus strengthening the government’s commitment and assurance to ensure the safety and welfare of its Australian citizens when abroad.

  • Ability to Seek Election to Federal, State or Territory Parliament – Obtaining citizenship grants the eligibility to seek election to federal, state, or territory parliament. Citizens are empowered to contribute to important legislative decisions and engage in the political process to shape the country’s future.

Australian citizenship begins a reciprocal relationship between individuals and the nation and brings several privileges and responsibilities for its citizens. Embracing these roles, duties, and entitlements further develops the Australian community within the country.

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