Turnbull welcomes new citizens

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warmly invited 28 new Australian citizens to add their threads to the nation's history.

A Pakistani comedian and neo-Nazi walk into a pub in the West Australian town of Southern Cross.

No, it's not a joke.

Just one of Sami Shah's weird experiences as a stand-up comic touring Australia.

"Because of my comedy, he got converted to not hating me," he said.

"He hugged me and walked me to my car to make sure no one tried stabbing me."

Mr Shah emigrated from Pakistan - where he performed the first solo English-language comedy show - to Northam in the WA wheatbelt with his wife Ishma Alvi in 2012, before moving to Melbourne last year.

On Thursday, he became an Australian citizen.

The 38-year-old was among 28 people who took the oath led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at an Australia Day ceremony in Canberra.

They represented 11 different countries, including Zimbabwe, Italy, Iran and Brazil, and all walks of life from doctors and midwives, to architects and students.

Mr Turnbull welcomed the new citizens to Australia's embrace, saying they honoured the country by choosing to become part of it.

"Most of us were tiny conscripts to Australian citizenship; our oath of allegiance an indignant howl as we emerged blinking into the light of our first day," the prime minister told the group.

"But you have made a choice, not just to live among us but to become one of us."

Mr Turnbull said each of the new citizens "adds another thread to the national tapestry" of a history stretching back more than 40,000 years.

He spoke of his own family's migrant story and said the nation was enriched by the cultures of all its citizens.

The prime minister administered the oath to the group - among 16,000 new citizens across the country on Thursday - at the event on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, which also included an official flag raising and indigenous smoking ceremony.

Mr Turnbull then traded in his blazer and tie for a chef's apron to help Liberal colleague Zed Seselja behind the barbecue at a lakeside Canberra park.

He and wife Lucy took turns sizzling sausages at the Cure Cancer Australia fundraiser before tucking into their Australia Day treats.

With a pair of tongs in hand, Mr Turnbull joked about how his deputy Barnaby Joyce would blame him when cattle prices bombed but claim credit when they were high.

He was particularly enamoured with local butcher Cameron Fenson, dragging him into a press conference after fending off curly questions about Donald Trump.

"Now where is our friend the butcher, come here, the sausage maker," Mr Turnbull beckoned.

"This is the creative artist who has made those sausages - they're fantastic, good on you.

"Curing cancer, that's what we're doing today with your help, one sausage at a time."

3 min read
Published 26 January 2017 at 1:54pm
Source: AAP