Australia Day 2023, Citizenship Ceremony, Windsor, NSW
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Darug and Darkinjung peoples, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
It is an absolute delight for Linda and me to be back in the Hawkesbury region and in Windsor on what is a very special day for the community.
Shortly, we will have the great privilege of welcoming 32 new citizens to Australia.
What a joyous moment that will be for the new citizens and their families — and also for their friends, work colleagues, members of the community and our nation.
The last time Linda and I were in Windsor was July last year, shortly after the floods. We wanted to check in on people following our earlier visit in March.
During that visit we received a briefing on flood recovery from representatives of Council. We also met with people who were involved in the recovery and relief efforts and some of the residents who were impacted.
I won’t sugar-coat things: the last few years have been extremely challenging for the people of the Hawkesbury.
The floods particularly, but also the pandemic and before that the fires, have adversely impacted the lives and livelihoods of many.
But let me say this: on each visit to the region in recent years, despite the many difficulties and challenges, Linda and I have come away uplifted by the strength of people in the community.
It is both uplifting and inspiring.
This strength, which I think characterises so many communities the length and breadth of Australia, lies at the core of what makes us a great nation.
It is one of the observations of Australia that I touched on at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra this morning.
I said to the new citizens that they were joining a great country; a community whose members are there for each other in good times and in bad times — where people stick together, help where help is needed and do what needs to be done.
As I said, it is uplifting. It is also something to celebrate.
We are also a people not afraid of hard work.
We are creative and innovative, can overcome any adversity, and embrace diversity.
We are the product of our past and the sum of our individual stories.
I am very excited at the contributions that our 32 newest citizens will either make or continue to make.
As a group, they come from 12 diverse nations: Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
Each will make their own contribution and write their own chapter in the Australian story.
To the Hawkesbury’s newest citizens … shortly, you will take a pledge.
In doing so, you will pledge your loyalty to Australia, its people and its democratic beliefs.
You will become Australian citizens.
It’s a momentous, life-changing step and I’m sure you have thought about it very carefully.
You are about to become part of a great nation!