Yoonggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngoonawal dhowrrra.
We are gathered on Ngunawal land, and we acknowledge and honour their elders past and present as we acknowledge our First Australians.
At more than 400 ceremonies like this around Australia today receiving 16,000 new citizens from 150 countries.
I acknowledge His Excellency, the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, the Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, Ben Roberts-Smith, dear friends all.
And to those who are about to become Australian citizens, welcome. You honour us.
Most of us were tiny conscripts to Australian citizenship – our oath of allegiance an indignant howl as we emerged blinking into the light of our first day.
But you have made a choice not just to live among us, but to become one of us, partners in our democracy – citizens.
You come from 11 different countries, and each of you adds another thread to our national tapestry, magnificent in its diversity and the most successful multicultural society in the world.
We are a nation ancient and modern, old and new.
Our First Australians have lived on this land, cared for it, for over 40,000 years, for time out of mind.
Theirs is the oldest continuous human culture on earth.
But they are also citizens like us, of 21st century Australia with lives and jobs as diverse as our nation – Ministers and magistrates, artists and teachers, soldiers, scientists, doctors, internet entrepreneurs.
The culture of our First Australians enriches us, all of us, just as your cultures enrich us as well.
My family’s migrant story, like all of yours, is one of many chapters – a sailor on the Sirius landing at Sydney Cove, staunch Scots building a chapel on the Hawkesbury, a pair of actors in the cast of Showboat who chose our southern sunshine over the gloom of Depression England.
We come from nearly 200 countries, of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds.
And yet in a world where conflict and intolerance seem more intractable than ever, we live together in peace.
Harmony in the midst of extraordinary diversity.
This great achievement is not an accident.
Our remarkable nation is the project of 24 million Australians and all those who came before us.
We share our democratic values with other nations, above all with Britain from where so many of our founders came bringing their laws, literature and tradition.
But here under the Southern Cross we have forged our own nation with unique Australian values – democratic and egalitarian.
Deep in our DNA we know that everyone is entitled to a fair go in the great race of life.
And that if you fall behind, we are happy to lend a helping hand to get ahead.
This strong sense of justice springs from the solidarity, the mutual respect, the mateship that transcends and binds us together in our diversity.
And that is always when we are at our best and most Australian – the selfless sacrifice of the diggers a century ago, the courage of their descendants in the Middle East today.
Volunteers fighting fires and floods, pulling kids out of a rip at the beach, rushing to the aid of the wounded on Bourke Street.
Together, we have created a remarkable, extraordinary nation.
And whether it is Tina, whose ancestors walked across these very lands thousands of years ago, or a baby born of a migrant mother, or you, sworn to your citizenship today – we all have the same rights as citizens, the same share in this, our Australian project.
Thank you for joining our Australian family.
I wish you and your families, and all Australians good fortune, today and every day.
As together we Advance Australia Fair.
Happy Australia Day!
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