On Wednesday I attended my first ever citizenship ceremony, in a marquee in lovely Enmore Park. After a welcome to country with dance and didj, we had mercifully brief speeches from the local state member, the state member for nearby Canterbury, the local federal member, the local Woolworths manager (who won the brevity medal), an Olympic sportswoman (who quoted bad Henry Lawson), and the Mayor of Marrickville. Then the mayor put on her new chains for the first time – ‘Just a sec,’ she said, ‘I have to get dressed up for this bit.’ The new citizens took the oath and the affirmation of allegiance (the ones with pink name tags had ‘under God’ in their formula, those with orange tags were godless) and each went up to receive a certificate and enjoy a photo op with the mayor. We stood for the national anthem, and it was all over.
And then we found the queen. Unlike God, I don’t recall her being mentioned during the ceremony, but perhaps a photo of our head of state is compulsory for these events. because there she was, sticky-taped to one of the posts of the marquee. This photo doesn’t do justice to the image: the actual pink was much pinker than this, the gold more golden, the blue of her hair much, much bluer. It could have been Dame Edna.
God save her.