Remarks at 2016 Australian of the Year Awards
Thank you, Jeremy – and together, we gather on the land of the Ngunnawal people and we honour their elders past and present.
Australians, let us all rejoice, rejoice that tonight, we are honouring the Australian of the Year Finalists. Selfless, committed to the service of others, in different ways improving and enriching the lives of our whole Australian family.
Our 2015 Australian of the Year – Rosie Batty – used the platform of that office for a passionate advocacy.
Out of sadness and loss, but moved by love, she inspired us to stand up and say "no" to violence against women and girls, and "no" to the disrespect from which that violence stems.
I want to thank Rosie, and all her fellow 2015 Australians of the Year, for their remarkable contributions.
And like them, yes – they deserve some applause! Well, it's very important to be agile in the year of innovation.
Like them, like our 2015 Australians of the Year, our 2016 finalists come from across Australia and from every walk of life.
We rejoice that they, too, are shining examples of our best selves.
And tonight on the eve of Australia Day, we rejoice in being citizens of a nation whose identity is not defined by religion or race, but rather, by shared political values, open to all, democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect, and our deep instinct in our Australian DNA that everyone is entitled to a fair go.
To all our fellow Australians, each and every one of you, each and every one of us, has made this country what it is today.
So for tomorrow, happy Australia Day, and to all the 2016 Australian of the Year Finalists, congratulations!