Today we had our application for Australian citizenship approved. It's a pretty painless affair:
  • Fill in an on-line form
  • Pay some money
  • Get someone with a professional qualification to sign a form saying they know who you are
  • Go to any interview and list the four duties and seven privileges of being a citizen
  • Attend a citizenship ceremony
We have yet to attend the ceremony, that should happen in the next few months. The Australians seem very patriotic and attach a lot of importance to the concept of nationhood. However I feel an little uncomfortable about the whole patriotism thing and I have been thinking about it quite a lot about it ever since I came Australia. I think my discomfort stems from the the fact that I was brought up in Europe where many of us still have group memories of the fascist movement, its promotion of extreme patriotism (I'm being simplistic here) and the misery that brought to the world. If a view is promoted that a certain country is 'better' then there is a slippery slope to denigrating other countries and peoples. This issue is discussed with a little more rigour on Wikipedia. So given all this why I am becoming an citizen?
  • I want to take part in the political process here
  • My children can get jobs with the government should they wish
  • Citizen's do not need to pay A$125 every 5 years to renew their re-entry visa's
  • The queues for Australians are generally shorter at the local airport