Today, on Australia Day we reflect on that journey, the price that has been paid for our freedom, the lessons of our history and the privilege of being able to call ourselves Australians.
We do it on the day when the course of this land changed forever.
There is no escaping or cancelling this fact. For better and worse, it was the moment where the journey to our modern nation began.
And it is this continuing Australian journey that we recognise today.
Our stories since that day have been of sorrow and joy. Loss and redemption. Failure and success.
We are now a nation of more than 25 million stories, all important, all unique and all to be respected.
Whether it is the story of our first nation peoples’ strong, ancient and proud culture and their survival in the face of dispossession and colonisation.
Or the forsaken souls who came as convicts, not to start a new world, but because they had been banished from the old one. Condemned and outcast by empire, they too overcame.
The settlers and waves of immigrants who have followed seeking a better life for themselves and their families, creating a nation in the process, including the 12,000 people from over 130 nations who become citizens today.
These stories do not compete with each other, they simply coexist. They weave together.
Today we reflect on how far we have come, and humbly acknowledge the work still ahead of us.
We have risen above our brutal beginnings.
We have overcome, survived and thrived.
We have learned and are still learning.
And as the many peoples of the world joined our journey, we have become even stronger,
The most successful and cohesive immigration and multicultural nation on earth.
The home of the world’s oldest living human culture.
A modern, prosperous and generous nation. Fair minded, hard working.
A standard bearer for liberal democracy, in a world where authoritarianism is once again pushing itself forward.
An honest nation that continues to confront the truth of our past and to reconcile this with our future.
Much to appreciate and be thankful for.