Remarks at City of Holdfast Bay Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, Adelaide
Posted on Saturday, 26 January 2013
Mr Mayor, distinguished parliamentary colleagues, particularly my federal parliamentary colleagues Steve Georganas, Andrew Southcott and Senator Simon Birmingham, ladies and gentlemen. It is a thrill and an honour for me to be here at Glenelg on this Australia Day and to say to this fine group of Australians and Australians to be, Happy Birthday Australia.
I particularly want to address these few remarks to the new citizens and I want to make essentially two points. First, you are joining the greatest country and the best community on earth and second, by joining us, you help us, you enrich us and most importantly of all, you affirm us because you, the new citizens of Australia, have chosen consciously to become Australians. You didn’t have to become Australians but you did and in becoming Australians you have said more meaningfully and more wholeheartedly than anyone else, “Yes I choose Australia, yes I love Australia, yes I want Australia to be my home, not just your home.”
Sometimes those of us who’ve been here for a long time get a little bit anxious about the changes that are taking place in our country. Change is inevitable. It should be change in accordance with the customs and the traditions of our people but change is not necessarily a problem, change is a challenge. Change, in the end, is what makes us better and by joining our country and by adding your gifts to the gifts of our people, you change us for the better.
We often talk on days such as this of our diversity and I cherish our diversity but above all else, I cherish our unity and by electing to become Australian citizens you are celebrating that which we have in common.
It is a proud people that you are joining. We had inauspicious beginnings. The first lot of Australians were chosen by the finest judges in England, not always for good reasons, and from that rather inauspicious beginning we have become a rich, a free and a fair society which has contributed so much to the wider world in good times and in not so good times.
But above all else we have demonstrated to the wider world that it is possible to bring unity from diversity. It is possible to have harmony in a very diverse multicultural society. Long may that be the case. Long may we celebrate this great country of ours. Long may we say Advance Australia Fair. It’s a real honour to be here. May God bless you and may God bless our country on this important day.