Dual citizenship can mean more than just an extra passport

Family history and heritage is a source of pride in Australia.

Our nation is often described as a melting pot of cultures. 

We have taken the strengths from all of them to create our Australian identity.

You hear stories of people travelling to Tasmania as part of the hydro scheme after World War II and into the 1950s.

Families who were the “10 pound Poms” or those who date back to when convicts first arrived in Van Diemen’s Land. 

We have the proud history of the first Australians – people who fight to keep the traditions of their Aboriginal ancestors relevant and respected today and beyond.

People take great pride in discovering and retelling stories from the past.

Scrapbooks are created to document many generations.

The University of Tasmania has recently offered a very popular, and free, family history course.

Websites have even been monetised for those researching their family history. Social media has also  helped us to connect with distant relatives all over the world.

When researching, we like to discover if first names continue to be passed down, occupations that have somewhat become a family tradition or love stories.

Our heritage connects us to events that have shaped the world. We know if our family were victims of the plague or a prisoner of war or on the Titanic.

The current citizenship saga has questioned why Australians should have dual citizenship. Can you vote in Australia and hold citizenship in another country? Can you serve in the Australian Defence Force and hold citizenship elsewhere?

The answer to the latter is yes in some instances (primarily Commonwealth countries as you pledge an oath to the Queen when joining the defence force).

We must remember that the citizenship debacle – which appears to be never ending – is causing a stir because of the legalities.

It is not illegal to be a dual citizen in Australia. It’s illegal to be a federal politician and hold dual citizenship.

This debate must not question or diminish the importance of a person’s heritage.

It’s this family history that helps to build our own personal identity and provides a connection to what’s come before and what’s still to happen.

The self-identity from where we came from translates into the pride of what our country is today and could be in the future.