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Board shorts and thongs OK for Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, councils say

Boardies and thongs ARE OK for Australia Day citizenship sign-offs – as councils push back on the PM’s plan to end ‘casual’ January 26 ceremonies

  • New changes to Citizenship Ceremonies Code has angered many local councils
  • Iconic attire such as board shorts and thong banned under strict dress code 
  • Councils also now forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26
  • Australian Local Government Association has written to minister about concerns

A controversial new ban on thongs, singlets and board shorts from Australia Day citizenship ceremonies continues to come under fire from local councils.

The iconic Australian attire is now off limits at the official events under changes made by the federal government last week.

The strict dress code has angered many councils, which will now also be forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 or lose the right to host the events altogether.

Australian Local Government Association recently wrote to Citizenship Minister David Coleman on behalf of 537 councils before the changes were implemented last week.

Iconic attire such as thongs, singlets, bikinis and board shorts has been  banned from Australia Day citizenship ceremonies by the federal government (stock image)

The letter obtained by Daily Mail Australia argues that many citizenship ceremonies are held on beaches to reflect the Australian lifestyle.

‘Subject to council deliberations, board shorts and thongs may be consequently be entirely appropriate,’ ALGA president David O’Loughlin wrote. 

Some councils are also at risk be stripped of their right to hold citizenship ceremonies if they reschedule Australia Day events to another date to reflect their community’s wishes where January 26 is regarded as a ‘day of mourning’.  

‘It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge the fact that some Australian identify January 26 as a day of mourning , but this should not councils from trying to find a way of accommodating legitimate community views,’ Mr O’Loughlin wrote. 

Dozens of councils have cancelled Australia Day celebrations out of respect for indigenous people.

They include Launceston City Council in Tasmania, which voted last week to hold its events a day earlier on January 25.  

‘The views ALGA is putting forward do not replace the views of those associations and individual councils, many of which will have made separate submissions during the consultation process,’ a ALGA spokesman told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.

Mr Coleman described the changes as ‘common sense’ when they were announced last week and said he will write to all councils to advise them of the new code.

The strict dress code outraged many Australians and sent social media into meltdown when it was first proposed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in January.

A new dress code for citizenship ceremonies was announced by the federal government last week (stock image)

A new dress code for citizenship ceremonies was announced by the federal government last week (stock image) 

Some labelled the decision as hypocritical from the Prime Minister, who was pictured looking very casual in a T-shirt and boardies while meeting with volunteer firefighters on the NSW south coast just weeks earlier.

Others likened the decision to the 2015 fiasco when then Prime Minister Tony Abbott awarded Australia’s highest honour to Prince Philip on Australia Day. 

Among the outspoken critics slamming the decision at the time 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 earlier this year. 

‘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.’

In western Sydney, where celebrations are often held in sweltering conditions, Blacktown mayor and state MP Stephen Bali had no issue with the new dress code.

‘Most people come the ceremonies dressed in smart casual,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘For those receiving citizenship, you would think decorum and common sense would prevail.’ 


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