Diyn Babana, Gamarada Gadigal Ngura
In the language of the Gadigal people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather, I pay my respects to you, Yvonne, for your Welcome to Country and to Gadigal Elders, past, present and emerging and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples joining us here along the Sydney Harbour foreshore and online.
Australia is an extraordinary country: a land of a unique ancient living culture, a land whose beauty, sometimes green and lush, sometimes ochre, greets us every day; a land whose waters surround it and run through it.
We are a land of storytelling, commencing more than 65,000 years ago with the timeless spiritual narratives of the Dreaming; storytelling which continues today – old stories newly shared and new stories joining with the old. It is our shared stories that make a narrative of one country. In embracing that narrative, we must do so honestly. It is only through the lens of honesty that we can fully celebrate what is wonderful about Australia – and there is much to celebrate – it is through the lens of honesty that we recognise what needs to be done and why that is so.
We are a people whose relationship with the land is defining, as the original custodians have always understood. As I think of that relationship, I reflect on the 2019-2020 bushfires and remember and honour those who gave their all to the bushfire effort and to those who are still suffering its impacts.
On this Australia Day, I know our thoughts are with our health and frontline workers who continue to work selflessly to keep our community safe as we now enter the third year of the pandemic. One cannot say a big enough or a loud enough thank you to each of you – a thank you which I know will echo around the country as loudly as the 21-gun salute which will be held shortly.
Across the country today, we recognise everything that we have achieved as a Nation.
We all have a role to play in making our Nation even better. Our shared experiences across diverse backgrounds are the strength of our community – they bring understanding, compassion and empathy. These are qualities that I see reflected in the people and organisations that I encounter every day in my role as Governor.
Today, across Australia, we add to that strength as we welcome new citizens – here at Dawes Point we welcome 25 new citizens from 19 different national backgrounds, all with their own unique stories. In becoming an Australian citizen, each has a share in our future success as a nation and each has embraced the values of equality before the law and respect for the freedom and dignity of others.
Our new citizens will make their contribution to Australian society in a spirit of tolerance, compassion and inclusion. I warmly congratulate each of you for taking the final step in your journey to become Australian citizens.
All of us as citizens contribute to Australia’s rich tapestry of wisdom, sacrifice, experience, generosity and good humour. Every contribution is important, from ringing friends to keep in touch, to thanking the store cashier who stands for long hours to serve us, to sailing to Tonga as part of Australia’s relief effort as members of our Defence forces have just done.
To everyone here on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour and across Australia, enjoy this Australia day where we celebrate and honour our frontline workers and each and every one of you, as good citizens of our country.Her Excellency the Honourable Margarat Beazley AC QC, NSW Governor in 2022