Alumni News Articles

Transcript of Prime Minister's speech at Australian of the Year Awards 2013 presentation

29 January 2013

Over the past half century we’ve learnt to celebrate our national day in a very special way: by singling out some of our fellow citizens who absolutely embody the best of what it means to be Australian.

Tonight four names will be added to the roll of honour as Australians of the Year: a roll of men and women who collectively tell our nation’s story.

Some of the Australians of the Year can trace their connection with this land back countless centuries, like the Yunupingu brothers, Neville Bonner and Mick Dodson.

Others, like Fred Hollows, Gus Nossal and John Yu, were born elsewhere.

But all of them, every Australian of the Year, has helped shape our nation.

They’ve helped made a nation of men and women who take on the world’s greatest medical and scientific challenges; a nation that excels brilliantly in the sports and the arts; who extends a hand of healing and friendship to those doing it tough.

The men and women we honour are our tall poppies, who have grown high in achievement and stature under our very bright southern skies.

Through the Australian of the Year awards, we don’t cut them down, we lift them up; honouring in them all that is best about our nation, our values and ourselves.

I warmly congratulate the 2013 Australian of the Year award winners and commend them to the nation; a nation they’ve done so much to enrich and so much to serve.