Citizenship refers to two related ideas. The legal meaning refers to the status of someone who is a citizen of a country – either born there or naturalised (having applied for and been accepted as a citizen of the new country).
Citizenship also refers to a moral code of practice in society in which, in exchange for the benefits they get – the right to vote, carry a passport and so on - citizens accept the basic structures and principles of society, observe the rule of law, and acknowledge that expressing your own culture and beliefs means that you also have the responsibility to accept the right of others to express their views and values.
You don't have to be a citizen in law to be a good citizen in practice - that's why the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural New South Wales stresses the idea that citizenship encompasses all people living in the state.
The taking up of citizenship is seen by some sections of the community as being a manifestation of being Australian and of showing loyalty to the nation. Some sections of the community have the view that many migrants and refugees to Australia have not taken up Australian citizenship. In fact, about 3,150,000 Australian citizens were born overseas, making the take up rate for all those eligible to assume citizenship as high as 74%.
10 March 2002