Geraldton to buck PM’s Australia Day boardie ban
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn is urging the Prime Minister to rethink a ban on board shorts, thongs and singlets at Australian citizenship ceremonies.
On Sunday the Federal Government announced changes to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code, forcing councils to hold ceremonies on Australia Day.
The revision, which will be introduced in 2020, will also implement a strict dress code that stops new citizens from wearing board shorts, thongs and singlets at the ceremonies.
Mr Van Styn said the City would continue to host citizenship ceremonies on January 26 “with great pride” but would not prevent people from becoming a citizen based on what they were wearing.
“The idea they’d prevent local governments from naturalising Australians because some bloke wanted to wear boardies and thongs on Australia Day blows my mind,” he said. “We had a fella from the UK intentionally dress in Australian flag (clothing) and draped himself in an Aussie flag as a light-hearted but patriotic display of his love for his country.
“Of all the things you don’t want people to dress in, why pick on boardies? I know we don’t have a national dress but boardies are pretty close.”
Mr Van Styn yesterday set up a petition on change.org calling to reverse the ban.
Having worked as a bouncer, Mr Van Styn said there was a thin line between board shorts and casual shorts, and women were often allowed to wear thongs and singlets when men were not.
The Mayor also noted some new citizens may wear thongs as part of their religious or traditional clothing. “Am I going to stop someone dressing in a burqa or a sari? No,” he said.
“Do we really need a final line of border protection comprising bouncers onstage checking the clothing of our proposed new Aussies? “On Australia Day we’re celebrating all the great things about being an Australian, and it’s not about the clothes you wear.”
Under changes to the citizenship ceremonies code, councils will have to hold a second citizenship ceremony on September 17 — Australian Citizenship Day.
Scott Morrison told the Sunday Telegraph the Government would “protect our national day and ensure it is respected”.
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