Australia Day Message from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Friends, this evening we gather together on Ngunnawal country, whose elders past, present and future we acknowledge and we respect.
We gather at what continues to be a time of great trial for our country and our people. From drought to fires, floods and pandemic. It’s been a tough time for Australia.
A time of uncertainty, hardship and loss that we have not known since the days of war and the Great Depression.
And our journey through these trials has not been perfect, but here we are – standing, enduring, overcoming, together.
Making our way and emerging stronger than almost any other nation in the world from this global pandemic.
This is the story of our country.
A story of a quiet, confident people.
A journey of character found through resilience, recovery and renewal.
We all feel the emotions of these difficult times – the frustration, the anger and anxiety, disappointment, fear and grief – and this is understandable.
And while those emotions may remain with us today, there is also much to be thankful for.
As we approach our national day, I am overcome with a sense of thankfulness and gratitude.
Thankful for being an Australian.
To live in this timeless land, of uncommon and unique beauty and diversity, nurtured for over 60,000 years by the world’s oldest living culture in Indigenous Australians.
A land blessed with freedom and prosperity, paid for and built by those who came before us, with great sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, to whom we owe a great debt.
And a land of hope, because of the enduring and optimistic spirit of our people, always believing in our future and what can be done together.
And, of course, you, the nominees for the Australian of the Year. You remind us of all of this – in any setting, at any age, and anywhere in our country.
The nominees here tonight, like the land from which they are drawn, are diverse and different – men, women who strive and study, argue and engage, and who love and care for their community and our country.
You’ve reached out for others from deep within your own experience.
You’ve risen to meet a need or light the way, and whole communities have been changed by your actions.
For me, this ceremony is about more than an award on a mantelpiece, as I’m sure it is for anyone here.
It’s a touchstone of what this country is about.
What makes us tick. Why we keep going, as we do.
You see, the strength of Australia – the wonder of Australia – is, ultimately, the Australian people.
A generous, open hearted, practical people – who look out for each other, care for each other, care for their community and their country, and simply get on with it.
This is what these finalists here embody.
So I congratulate all our finalists tonight.
But to each of you, most of all, I just want to say a humble thank you.
And join with you all in being thankful that we can all call ourselves Australian.
Happy Australia Day!