Australia Day 2024
Australia Day is a day to count our blessings. We share a stable, peaceful, democratic, culturally rich and diverse, prosperous, free and beautiful country – I think the luckiest country in the world.
When we see the turmoil around the world, we have a daily reminder about just how lucky we are to call ourselves Australians – not in hubris but in gratitude for our good fortune and for those in our history on whose shoulders we rest. We often take our freedoms for granted, but they were hard fought for and it’s our joint responsibility to protect and enhance them.
While Australia Day is a day to count our blessings, it’s also the occasion to engage in a constructive reminder about what needs to improve. In particular, we still have a long way to go to in reconciliation and closing the gap of Indigenous disadvantage.
Australia is a remarkable fusion of three strands.
There is our Indigenous strand – the world’s oldest living civilisation, the ancient custodians of our vast continent, whose ancestors go back 65,000 years.
There is our British strand - the structures of government and civic society, the rule of law, scientific and technological advancement, language and literature, faiths and creeds, which came with the early settlers and evolved locally.
And there is our multicultural strand – waves of arrivals on our shores who have enriched Australian society in the arts, sciences, sport, education, business, public life and so many other ways.
My greatest enjoyment on Australia Day is seeing, at citizenship ceremonies, our newest citizens make the choice to declare their allegiance to Australia and our core democratic values.
How ever you spend it – whether in a quintessentially laid back Australian way at the beach or at a BBQ, or in a more serious way – let’s reflect, respect and celebrate.
Happy Australia Day!