On 26 January we come together as a nation, community, family, and as individuals to celebrate the spirit of what is means to be an Australian.  Today evokes feelings of our national pride and spirit as we cherish and celebrate our freedoms, our democracy, and our cultural diversity.

As Australians, we have much for which to be both proud and thankful.  Today we come together unified by the celebration of what it means to be Australian.

To be Australian is to be proud of our values. To be Australian is to be proud of the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law and equality of opportunity for all individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background.

We are also thankful we have a caring and compassionate society, generous in wealth, resources and humanity, a country that respects and embraces each other and that looks after our local community and our neighbours.

As we come together and reflect, we can be proud of our significant achievements, and the people we have become, it is also an opportunity to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.

One of the best parts of Australia Day celebrations is welcoming new Australians into our community. We celebrate our diversity and recognise it as part of our identity. We come from many different cultures and have had many different experiences, yet we all call the same place home, and we reside here in a tolerant, caring and harmonious way.

Those becoming Australian citizens today are making an ongoing commitment to this country and our unique way of life. It is also the beginning of their formal membership of this country. It is the step that will enable them to say ‘I am Australian’ and I congratulate all those who are taking this important pledge today.

As we stand united under our National flag on Australia Day, wherever we are across this great nation, I ask you to celebrate everything that we love about being an Australian.

From my family to yours wishing everyone a very Happy Australia Day.

 Media contact: Cate Mercer-Grant 03 5572 1100 or 0408 564 232

ua.vo1502674214g.hpa1502674214@tnar1502674214g-rec1502674214rem.e1502674214tac1502674214