Australia Day 2014
Today, at community breakfasts and BBQs, flag raisings and citizenship ceremonies, in backyards and on beaches, millions of our citizens will celebrate being Australian.
While Australia Day formally marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, we celebrate something richer and deeper. We celebrate the nation and people we have become.
We are the grateful inheritors of two rich strands of history: a British heritage and an Aboriginal one. Along with the millions of settlers from around the world who have made their home in Australia since 1788, we have become one people sharing the one land. We are fulfilling the aspiration put forward in the opening of the Australian Constitution: ‘that the people….have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth’.
Twenty three million of us have found unity in our diversity, respect in our differences and have built a modern nation on the idea that anyone can get ahead provided they are prepared to “have a go”.
This Australia Day, we welcome thousands of new Australian citizens who have made the choice to “join our team”. It is a fitting day to celebrate our new citizens as it was on 26 January 1788 that Australia’s first modern migrants arrived.
Like the millions who have given their allegiance to Australia in the past, we know our newest citizens will play their part in building our country and making it their home.
We are a great country and a great people. We believe in work, family, community; doing things for love, not just money; and living our ideals.
This year marks the start of the commemorations to recognise the Centenary of Anzac. I hope all Australians will participate in the events that will take place across Australia.
We will also begin a national conversation about amending our Constitution to recognise Aboriginal peoples as the first Australians. This should be another unifying moment in the history of our country.
On this day and every day, we celebrate the history that has made us who we are; the country that we love and the values and institutions that underpin it.
I wish all Australians a happy Australia Day!