Tuesday, December 11, 2007

77 Aussie dollars

That's the amount I've just had to shell out, in Sydney, to obtain an apostille from the Australian authorities for my birth certificate, in the context of my application for French citizenship. I can hear readers yelling out that (a) a seventh-generation Anglo-Irish Aussie such as me shouldn't be seeking French citizenship, and (b) I shouldn't be using a French word such as apostille in my blog, since nobody knows what it means. Well, let me you surprise you, at least on the second point. It's a fact that most French people don't happen to know the meaning of this purely French word, apostille. But it so happens that our Australian embassy staff, not to mention the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia, are perfectly aware of the precise meaning of this exotic term. An apostille [I don't wish to get involved in the difficult question of the pronunciation of this term] is simply an official signed and date-stamped mention indicating that the associated document is authentic and valid. In fact, I can understand that French authorities need to be reassured that I'm not giving them forged identity documents, and I can even understand that Australian authorities demand $77 [basic fee of $60 plus $17 for international express postage to France] for this stamp of authenticity. So, let's see what happens. Blog readers can rest assured that I'll certainly let them know, with an electronic fanfare, if and when I become a French citizen.

Meanwhile, my attention is attracted by the precise amount of money, $77, that my native state of New South Wales is asking me to pay in order to get over the final hurdle of French naturalization. If I understand correctly, that's exactly the sum that Sydney cops would ask me to fork out if I were to exceed the speed limit while driving in suburban Cremorne... like a certain legal gentleman who would appear to have behaved most illegally. [Google him, if you're interested, for trivial details.] Between the former judge and me, for a matter of 77 Aussie dollars, I'm convinced I've got the better value-for-money deal.

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