Happy Australia Day 2009



Australia Day is our nation’s biggest celebration and it was terrific to join with the Mitchell community to celebrate all the great things about Australia.   We truly are “the lucky country” and it was fantastic to see great numbers of our local community, family and friends out in celebration.

This year there were calls from some to move Australia Day to a more “appropriate” date.  I strongly reject this proposition.

The 26th of January represents the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain arrived at Sydney Cove.  Every Australian alive today has been impacted by the significance of this date and I take heart from the fact that Australia Day becomes more popular each year as we celebrate our people, land, diversity, sense of fair go, lifestyle, democracy and the freedoms that we all enjoy.

I also wish to publicly congratulate those members of the Mitchell community who were awarded the Order of Australia Medal at this year Australia Day Celebrations:

·         Alan Drew of Castle Hill, for community service for a range of charity and service organisations

·         John Henry O’Connor of Bella Vista, for service to the community as the entertainer “Dee Donovan”

·         Barbara Mary Roberts of Castle Hill, for service to ophthalmic nursing and the establishment of ambulatory day surgery centres in Sydney and overseas

·         Evelyn Hill of West Pennant Hills, for community service through the Castle Hill Art Society

It is through the work, sacrifice and dedication of these men and women and others like them that our country remains such a great place to live. Our high proportion of volunteers in Mitchell is in my mind one of the keys to our ongoing cohesion and a source of great inspiration to me as a local Member of Parliament.

In the year ahead, whatever the challenges we will face, let us all remember our primary duty as citizens to care about our families and each other and work together to build a stronger society.

To all members of the Mitchell Community – “Happy Australia Day!”