A controversial new dress code banning thongs and board shorts from Australia Day citizenship ceremonies has been described as unAustralian.
This year’s January 26 ceremonies will be last time attendees will be able to don the iconic Australian attire at the official events under the federal government’s changes to the code announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.
The strict new dress code proposed to reflect the ‘significance and formality’ of the ceremony has outraged many Australians and sent social media into meltdown.
Iconic Australian attire such as board shorts, bikinis and thongs will be banned from future Australia Day citizenship ceremonies
‘By ‘dress codes’ does ScoMo mean everyone must wear ‘Make Australia Great Again’ baseball caps to their citizenship ceremonies, or wrap themselves in a Made in China flimsy Australian flag,’ one person tweeted.
Another added: ‘How many days has the government been absent from Parliament? You cannot turn your back on the people of this country & then demand how we choose to spend a public holiday.’
Others labelled the decision as hypocritical from the Prime Minister, who was pictured looking very casual in a T-shirt and boardies while posing with volunteer firefighters on the NSW south coast earlier this month.
‘What a hypocrite Scott Morrison is. He can’t criticise people’s dress, when he has no dress sense whatsoever. He dresses like a mug on his day off! All Ministers should wear a tie always,’ one person tweeted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured on January 6) won’t be able to attend any Australia Day citizenship ceremonies dressed like this under the new dress code he announced
Among the outspoken critics slamming the decision was Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn from Western Australia’s mid-west coast.
He took to social media to tell the federal government to ‘bugger off’ and instead focus on signing the certificates.
‘It’s unAustralian, especially in a place like Geraldton, where we have our citizenship ceremonies on the beach in 40 degree heat,’ Cr Van Styn told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The attire varies wildly. I have sworn in brand new Aussies in double pluggers (thongs), boardies, zinc on nose, saris/dhotis, suits, hi-vis work wear and everything in between.’
One of the most outspoken critics was Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn
Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia that the federal government’s the new dress code for citizenship ceremonies was unAustralian
He pleaded for Australia Day celebrations to be left alone.
‘For the federal government to impose a dress code on our newest Australians on a great day for this country is mean spirited and doesn’t reflect how great Australia is,’ Cr Van Styn told Daily Mail Australia.
‘A lot of people would feel uncomfortable and offended to be unable to wear Australian attire that is embedded in our culture.’
Most constituents on the mayor’s Facebook page agreed.
A stricter dress code for Australia Day citizenship ceremonies (pictured) has sparked public backlash and described as unAustralian
‘We are supposed to live in a free country, but now we’re even being told what to wear. Surely they have more important things to worry about,’ one posted.
One quipped: ‘I have always planned to wear a kilt and a Wallabies shirt for mine.’
Others on social media likened the decision to the 2015 fiasco when then Prime Minister Tony Abbott awarded Australia’s highest honour to Prince Philip on Australia Day.
‘Another captains call like the Prince Philip knighthood four years ago,’ one tweeted.
Another added: ‘I feel like this council rule enforcement for Australia Day is is Morrison’s ‘Abbott’ moment.’
Much of the country celebrated Australia Day in sunny weather last year, including a heatwave in Adelaide, where at least seven local councils were forced to reschedule or cancel planned celebrations due to the 38 degree heat.
At least one mayor has called for Australia Day citizenship ceremonies to be left alone
The Prime Minister defended the new dress code on Sunday.
‘[I’m] happy for people to put on the boardies and thongs for the barbecue afterwards, but sometimes people turn up in dress that’s just not appropriate, doesn’t show the appropriate respect both for our national day and for citizenship ceremony itself,’ Mr Morrison told reporters.
‘I’m a Prime Minister that’s for standards and I’m putting standards on councils if they want to run citizenship ceremonies.’
Attendees can still wear national or cultural dress to citizenship ceremonies.
‘[I’m] happy for people to put on the boardies and thongs for the barbecue afterwards, but sometimes people turn up in dress that’s just not appropriate, doesn’t show the appropriate respect both for our national day and for citizenship ceremony itself,’ Scott Morrison said
In western Sydney, where celebrations are often held in sweltering conditions, Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali had no issue with the new dress code.
‘Most people come the ceremonies dressed in smart casual,’ the Labor mayor told Daily Mail Australia.
‘For those receiving citizenship, you would think decorum and common sense would prevail.’