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Brisbane Lions to help welcome 51 new Australians

Josie Fielding  August 2, 2017 9:06 AM

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The Brisbane Lions will play a pivotal role in one of the most important days of Han Huynh's life. 

Before the Lions Round 20 clash with the Western Bulldogs, Han, along with 50 others, will be recognised as an Australian in a Citizenship Ceremony held in the Gabba rooms pre-match. Local, state and federal government will witness the event.

Han, originally from South Vietnam, cannot wait to become an “Aussie”. 

“I would love to contribute more to the community as well as access all things Australia has to offer,” she said.

The mother of one believes having the ceremony at the Gabba before the Brisbane Lions game is “open and welcoming,” as “sport brings people together,” she said.

It’s the first time the Lions have been involved in a citizenship ceremony.   

The 51 candidates, including five children, come from 24 different countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Colombia, Greece, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States and Vietnam. 

Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann said: “The Club is passionate about bringing people together from all walks of life to enjoy our great game."  

"The Lions wanted to join in Queensland’s celebrations of Multicultural Month and off the back the AFL’s Multicultural Round it’s the perfect event.  We hope the new citizens enjoy the exciting atmosphere of live footy and feel welcomed by the Club.”

The idea was formed when Multicultural Development Australia CEO Kerrin Benson and Kevin Cocks, the Queensland Anti Discrimination Commissioner attended a match last year. 

“Our newest citizens will see the work of Brisbane Lions and Australian Football in promoting the game as inclusive of everyone and recognising the contribution multicultural communities have made to the game’s history. They will feel a sense of welcome and no doubt embrace Australia’s game in the future,” Benson said.

Han is certain after Saturday’s game her family will become AFL converts. 

“My husband is really excited about the game because he loves sport,” she said.

Han came to Australia in 2009 as a student and studied her Masters in public relations at QUT. She fell in love with the Queensland lifestyle and climate but more importantly wanted to “grow our kids in a peaceful and safe country.”

Last month, with husband Hieu Nguyen, they welcomed their first child Victoria Cat-Tuong Huynh Nguyen and the parents are excited for their daughter’s future. 

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“I love Australia because here the opportunities are equal to everyone who dares to dream and work hard to make dreams come true,” she said.  

Victoria is the first in their family to be recognised as an Australian citizen. Han will join her on Saturday afternoon, and it’s hoped husband Hieu won’t be far behind them, as he is still waiting to meet the citizenship requirements.

A six-month wait for her citizenship ceremony has almost come to an end for Han. In just a few days time she’ll finally be become an Australian, while also enjoying a family day out at the footy. 

“I’m really excited now, really,” she said.

Citizenship Ceremony Details

  • 51 candidates for citizenship, 31 male, 20 female. 
  • A total of 24 countries represented, including: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Colombia, Greece, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States and Vietnam.