Speech to launch the Australian of the Year Awards, Melbourne
THU 05 JULY 2012
I thank Joy Murphy Wandin for the welcome to country, and join her in honouring the First Australians with whom we share this land in a spirit of Reconciliation.
Mr Adam Gilchrist, Chair, National Australia Day Council; my Parliamentary Secretary, Senator the Hon. Jan McLucas; other distinguished guests; and a special welcome to so many former recipients of the Australian of the Year awards here today.
We all shine in the light of your generosity and selflessness.
Friends, today we ask Australians to once again take a moment to think about who has caught their hearts and minds this year, and who should therefore claim the title of next year’s awards across the four categories:
- Australian of the Year
- Senior Australian of the Year
- Young Australian of the Year, and
- Australia’s Local Hero
The Australian of the Year awards remind us of the importance of maintaining and enhancing national traditions which celebrate all that is wonderful and all that is defining, about being Australian.
And about acknowledging and recognising what is best in us through a representative few.
These awards, part of our national fabric now for more than half a century, remain a salient reminder that it is people who make a nation.
Those who are born here.
Those who move here for a better life.
We should never take for granted, not so much that we are a lucky country, but that we are lucky to live in this country.
We owe it to ourselves and to those who dream of sharing the country with us to be our very best and to shine a light on those who inspire us, challenge us and make us want to be better people.
People who hail from all walks of life.
And people who may be your neighbours, your co-workers, your peers, your mentors, your competitors or someone you have simply admired from afar.
People who shine in science and medicine, philanthropy, sport, the arts and much more.
From young Australians who inspire us with their enthusiasm and the hope they bring to our future.
To senior Australians who bring such depth of experience and dedication that we can only marvel at their enduring and ongoing legacy to the community.
And the local heroes who want nothing more than to make a difference in their own community and see change for the better.
Often they want no fuss.
Well I am sorry to say a bit of fuss is needed.
Which is why I now officially encourage all Australians to take advantage of this opportunity to share the stories of people that they know, or know of by nominating them for the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards.
And therefore shining a light on someone they think we should all see.
Thanks to our major sponsor, the Commonwealth Bank, for more than 30 years of support for the Australian of the Year Awards.
And without further ado, it is now my pleasure to declare nominations for the Australian of the Year Awards 2013 officially open.