TRUE BLUE: Gary Cartalla, Vergel Cartalla and Aisling McMullen at their citizenship ceremony.
TRUE BLUE: Gary Cartalla, Vergel Cartalla and Aisling McMullen at their citizenship ceremony. Joshua Macree

Citizens come together

THREE new Australian citizens emerged after a ceremony on Tuesday night in front of a small crowd of family and friends at the Cultural Centre in Roma.

Gary Cartalla, Vergel Cartalla - originally from the Philippines - and Aisling McMullen, from Ireland, each pledged to uphold Australian values and serve the country to the best of their ability.

The ceremony is a popular fixture on the Maranoa calendar and held on demand.

Gary and Vergel Cartalla, a father and son, were accompanied by a proud family who came to witness the special event.

Maranoa Regional Council mayor Tyson Golder said the citizenship ceremonies always brought him great personal joy.

"It's one of the most enjoyable things about being mayor and it's a highlight seeing people make their pledge to be Australian citizens and also to our local communities,” he said.

"I see the excitement in the families, it is a new start for people and is very cherished. It's a very energising ceremony and is just wonderful to see families and individuals with all the same goals, to be Australian citizens.”

Mr Golder said a set of common values was intrinsic to our shared cultural make-up.

"We are a country that values fairness, we help each other and we really are the lucky country and, even though we may have faults, we are one of, if not the best places in the world to live.”

Vergel Cartalla, who moved from the Philippines five years ago, said his Australian citizenship validated a sense of belonging.

"It's a nice feeling to know you're a part of the culture now and means I can be more at peace and can blend in more,” he said.


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