THE theme for Australia Day this year is “everyone, everywhere”. Whether you are in a city or regional area, it is important to come together to celebrate what is so great about being Australian.
I am reminded of a comment made by previous Governor General Sir William Deane many years ago – “we as a nation will be judged by the way we treat our most vulnerable” and we have many vulnerable who are forgotten and isolated.
Australia, at its best, is how we come together at times of tragedy and loss. This year we have already witnessed the damaging effect of bushfires ravaging across Australia, destroying more than a hundred homes and claiming lives.
These are times that test the spirit and strength of a nation, and every time Australians have pulled together to make a difference and help those who have been affected by these disasters.
We have seen people putting the wellbeing of others before their own, we have seen victims helping other victims and we have seen people with very little yet giving to assist others who have lost loved ones and their homes.
We have also witnessed our courageous firefighters who year after year put themselves at risk and our police who are the line between the good and criminal elements.
It is the generous commitment of all of these individuals that make me proud to be a part of this country.
This Australia Day, I encourage you to spare a moment for the people who have given their lives and donated their time to fighting the recent bushfires and to think about what being Australian is about.
FATHER CHRIS RILEY,
Youth Off The Streets.