2019 Australia Day Address

Address to Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony
Memorial Park, Armadale

I too wish to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet for this ceremony today, the Whadjuk Noongar People of South-Western Australia and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

But I think on Australia Day we should also acknowledge that we owe our First Australians more than just a few brief words of respect.

I think we owe our First Australians some imagination, some empathy, and some encouragement for their successes.

The official Australia Day council acknowledges that January 26th has multiple meanings – while Australia Day for all, for some its Survival day.

Some Australians have mixed feelings about celebrating this day.

Some consider it a day of mourning, some the survival of their traditions and cultural practices and for others it’s a day of celebration.

It’s important these views are respected and that together we have constructive conversations about this history to find ways to move forward together as a nation.

Regardless of the date though, our national day is a day to reflect on our national story – what it means to all of us, including our First Australians. 

To our newest citizens, let me say Welcome and Congratulations on taking up citizenship in one of the best parts of one of the best countries in the world.

Today, you are living out one of the key lines of our National Anthem, that:

for those that come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”.

The simple truth is this: we are a stronger, better country because of all of those who've come across the seas and joined your stories to ours.

Thank you for taking that great leap of faith to choose to leave your families and mother countries and to start a new life in Australia because we are a nation made great by immigration.

We are strong because we are diverse.

We are a richer, smarter, more interesting, more prosperous destination because of people, just like yourselves who have built a new life here.

Hard working people from all traditions who've added their story to our own, people from every country who have made us a better country, people of every faith who share a common belief in Australia.

Some wish to debate about the Australian identity and what makes a good Australian.

But today I want to say that what makes a good Australian is not governed by the number of generations you've been here—2,000 years, eight generations or if you’ve become a citizen today.   

What makes a good Australian is not what God you worship, where your ancestors came from or how much money you have.

It is not your skin colour, your postcode, your occupation or your gender.

What makes a good Australian is what is in your heart.

Good Australians are people who stand up for minorities, for the less powerful, for the fair go all around.

Being a good Australian is in the kindness you show to others and the values you hold.

Thank you for taking this step and choosing to make Australia your country too.

One of the key lines in the pledge you have all just made is about the democratic beliefs we share in Australia.

I am honoured to be your elected representative, here in the Federal seat of Burt.

If there is anything I as your local Federal Member of Parliament can ever do to be of assistance to you, please get in touch.

But for now, Congratulations, and welcome.

And to the community citizen of the year award winners – Andrew, Christine, Yvonne and the Roleystone Theatre, where I used to tread the boards, Congratulations to you all and thank you for everything you do for our community, you are all shining examples to us.

Happy Australia Day everyone.