Alumni News Articles

Prime Minister's speech - Australian of the Year Awards 2012 Federation Mall, Canberra, 25 January 2012

31 January 2012

Tonight we celebrate Australia Day by celebrating those who reflect the very best of our great nation.

Because we are a great nation.

And we are a great nation because of our people.

That is our true wealth:

The 23 million people who love this country deeply, sometimes at the
cost of their lives.

It says a lot that alongside fireworks and BBQs and all the things we
will do tomorrow, we celebrate Australia Day day by choosing four
individuals who reflect and inspire our nation.

They've been opera singers and artists.

Football players and scientists.

Our most recent recipient, Simon McKeon, is a businessman who has used
his success to help others.

They are remarkable men and women, every one of them.

And they point the way to a creative, confident future for our nation.

If there is any quality common to all our Australians of the Year, it
is courage.

Jessica Watson embarking on her dangerous voyage.

Fred Hollows restoring sight to those without hope.

John Farnham risking everything on a comeback.

Alan Stretton rebuilding a shattered city.

They had courage.

The courage to imagine a better nation and to face the future without fear.

We don't all have the gifts these extraordinary Australians possess.

But each of us in our own way - can share and emulate one thing: their courage.

Because it's not in our nature to be afraid - it never has been and I
know it never will be.

So let's celebrate the great nation we are, and the even greater
nation we can become together.

Happy Australia Day!

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