Seven-year itch scratched for new citizens
FIVE Glenelg Shire residents became the nation’s newest citizens on Tuesday, after taking the pledge of allegiance in Portland.
They hail from Indonesia and the Philippines and, while delighted to become Australian citizens after each has lived here for seven years, some have some unfinished business before fully celebrating.
Luh ‘Echa’ Medianjaswari, 20, moved to Portland from Bali with her family when her stepfather Neville Anderson took up a post as Indonesian teacher at Portland Secondary College.
Mr Anderson had married Ms Medianjaswari’s mother Ketut Yarmini, and along with Echa’s sister Kadek, they made their way to the south west.
“I was in year 7 when we moved here and everything seemed so new,” Ms Medianjaswari said.
“I had to get used to it but I like the different environment here, it’s just different. The beaches are much cleaner…”
While she is now at Deakin University in Geelong studying for a degree in zoology and animal science – “I just like animals” – the rest of her family has moved on to Queensland, where Mr Anderson teaches history at secondary level. However, Ms Medianjaswari still calls Portland home, spending her time off here with her boyfriend’s family.
Maria Finnigan moved to Portland after marrying Rodney Finnigan in her native Philippines.
“It’s a different lifestyle to the Philippines but I’ve got used to it now,” she said.
“I love it here, especially in Portland. We went to Cairns for a few weeks but I think it is much better here.”
Her daughter Asmah attended Portland Secondary College from years 10-12 and is currently in Cairns on a gap year.
“She went to university last year but she’s waiting on approval of her citizenship application so she can go back.
“Hopefully very soon she will be able to do that.”
Also waiting on citizenship for a family member is Wallacedale-based dairy farm worker Andres Pasion, who like Mrs Finnigan moved from the Philippines.
Mr Pasion, son Vinz, 11, and daughter Venice, 4, became citizens at the Portland ceremony but Mr Pasion’s partner Venus Basilio will have to wait a little while longer before becoming eligible.
Mr Pasion, who has agriculture qualifications, came to Australia for his job seven years ago.
“I enjoy working here and the people are very friendly everywhere,” he said.
The new citizens had plenty of supporters at Tuesday’s ceremony – about 20 family and friends joined Mayor Anita Rank, fellow councillors Robert Halliday, Alistair McDonald and Geoff White and chief executive Greg Burgoyne.