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National Wattle Day event, Government House


Good morning, everyone.

This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders. 

I would like to acknowledge:

  • Dr Suzette Searle, President of the Wattle Day Association, and Members of the Wattle Day Association
  • Teachers, staff and students of the Instrumental Music Program
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Linda and I are delighted to welcome this group back to Government House, after the pandemic prevented us from holding an event last year.

When it comes to National Wattle Day, which is tomorrow, all roads really lead to the Wattle Day Association!

You are tireless in your efforts to promote Wattle Day, a very important day on our national calendar.

Today’s turn-out is one of the biggest we’ve had at a Wattle Day event at Government House in recent years.

There are three Wattle Day-type anniversaries being celebrated today.

First, it is the 30th anniversary since the proclamation of National Wattle Day by then Governor-General, Bill Hayden.

It is also the 70th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and wattle is displayed on the Australian emblem for Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.

And, third, 2022 is the 23rd anniversary of presentations to Governors-General organised by the Wattle Day Association.

There is much for us to celebrate.

There is of course as serious message about National Wattle Day.

The day is all about appreciating wattle as a symbol and celebrating what it is — and means — to be Australian.

Wattle is a unique Australian native plant and our national floral emblem.

National Wattle Day is a day to appreciate how fortunate we are as a people and as a nation.

Hand on heart, not a day goes by when Linda and I don’t count our lucky stars. Not a single day.

Yes, our country has taken some big hits in recent years — drought, fire, flood, cyclones, mouse plague, pandemic … floods again.

There has been significant loss and plenty of pain and anguish. Many communities continue to do it tough.

Linda and I have visited many of the affected communities, to offer comfort and support in whatever way possible.

But you know what we also see? A strength in these communities that inspires, uplifts and makes you proud to be an Australian.

At our core we are a good, strong, resilient people. Like wattle, regardless of the elements, our communities bloom again.

That is something worth celebrating.

I do so today when I look at our national floral emblem. I will do so again tomorrow. And I will continue to do so — with immense pride.

There is another reason Linda and I wanted to host this event: to say thank you — to thank all involved in the Wattle Day Association for what you do to promote the celebration of National Wattle Day.

The Association’s website and Facebook pages are treasure troves of educational resources, and showcase Wattle Day activities being held around the country.

Association members continue to hand out fresh sprigs of Wattle to new citizens and their families at ACT Citizenship Ceremonies during spring.

National Arboretum Canberra is now home to more wattle thanks to the WDA. There are also more wattle-led walks and wattle talks.

And, in recent years, the Association has arranged for the green and gold lights to be on in many places around the country, including here in Canberra at the National Carillon.

Your passion, dedication and energy knows no bounds!

Again, it is great to have you here as we celebrate National Wattle Day.

Linda and I particularly enjoy seeing the Primary School children — you are all so talented and full of life. It is infectious!
We wish you well with your school work and singing, and all the adventures that lie ahead.

To all — thank you for all that you do to help promote National Wattle Day.

Happy Wattle Day!