Today is Australia Day.
It’s a day for all of us to stand together as one; to reflect on our history; respect the stories and experiences that have brought us together; and to celebrate our nation… its achievements and its people.
Today, more than 16,000 people have been invited to become new Australian citizens at more than 400 ceremonies right around the nation.
Here on the Gold Coast, I’ll be conferring citizenship on about 100 individuals.
Citizenship ceremonies always fill me with such joy and optimism – I love seeing so many new Australians smiling with pure pride in their new home.
Since the first Australian Citizenship Ceremony in 1949, we have welcomed more than five million new citizens to our shores.
Our shared Australian citizenship is the common bond that unites us all.
In the 121 years since Federation, we have succeeded as a nation by embracing – and defending – a set of core common values that each Australian holds dear.
Values of respect for the freedom and dignity of each individual; freedom of worship, including the freedom not to worship; freedom of speech, and freedom of association; commitment to the rule of law, and to a system of Parliamentary democracy whereby our laws are determined by Parliaments elected by the people; and equality of opportunity for all people, and a ‘fair go’ for all.
These values have seen us through the good times… and the bad.
But we are a resilient nation. Drought, bushfires, floods and a global pandemic have challenged us… but none have ever beaten us.
Together, we have stood firm and supported each other… and I know we will continue to do so. That’s why, today of all days, I encourage Australians – citizens by birth and citizens by choice – to reflect on the meaning and importance of our values, and on the rights and responsibilities we have to each other.
Together, we will continue to create a prosperous, secure and united Australia.